M14: Plenty of movers, shakers in Liga MX rankings

Erik Vera (left) and his Querétaro mates stunned Alan Montes and Monterrey in the biggest upset of the Liga MX season. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Erik Vera (left) and his Querétaro mates stunned Alan Montes and Monterrey in the biggest upset of the Liga MX season. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /
Liga MX rankings 14
Miguel Herrera (left) and André-Pierre Gignac will be stalking the Aguilas in Estadio Azteca in a potential Liga MX Finals preview on Saturday. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

With just one day off between Liga MX Matchday 14 and 15, the late-season endurance test (three games in 11 days) continues apace. Coming as it did right on the heels of a busy FIFA break, it is taking casualties.

The result has been a jumble of upsets and an excess of tie games such that no team has been mathematically eliminated from the postseason. The playoff race is so tight – with just three weekends remaining – that only 6 points separate 12th-place Santos (sitting in the final wildcard spot) – from fourth-place Monterrey and a first-round bye.

América, Puebla and the Pumas are the only clubs to win the first two games in this brutal three-game stretch and that has boosted the Aguilas into a 9-point lead atop the table while the latter two teams saw postseason dreams revived.

After the weekend, as clubs tally up the damage from this ordeal, there will be time to study the playoff permutations heading into the final two matchdays. The calculations figure to be complicated.

Liga MX Power Rankings: Matchday 14

Playoff favorites stubbed their toes again as the midweek matchday provided several surprises and a few underwhelming displays that impacted the rankings significantly.

Monterrey lost at 16th-placed Querétaro and León was stunned by 17th-placed UNAM, while Atlas, Cruz Azul and the Chivas were involved in scoreless draws. Third-place Toluca settled for a 1-1 tie at home against 15th-placed Necaxa and Santos Laguna conceded a late goal in its loss to América.

The result was considerable movement in our rankings, with reigning champs Cruz Azul climbing four spots and León falling from No. 3 to No. 7. Puebla’s win streak boosted the Camoteros up four spots and UNAM’s two straight wins lifted them three spots. Pachuca headed in the opposite direction after getting spanked by a resurgent Tigres team.

Let’s get right to the new list because Matchday 15 kicks off in a few hours and new rankings will have to be tabulated Monday. A reminder: the figure in parentheses after each team name refers to that club’s movement compared to the previous rankings.

Aguilas remain king of the Liga MX hill

1. América (—)

Santiago Solari has not lost at Estadio Azteca as head man and he will put his 14-2-0 home record on the lone against the Tigres.

2. Tigres (+1)

Coach Miguel Herrera would like nothing better than to rough up his former team and his Tigres showed fine form in a 3-0 rout of Pachuca.

3. Atlas (+2)

The Zorros are the toughest Liga MX team to score on, but if they don’t find a way to produce some goal their playoff run is going to be a short one.

4. Cruz Azul (+4)

The champs keep teasing fans with flashes of the flair and authority with which they stormed to the title last season. But six draws? That’s a lot of dropped points.

5. Monterrey (–2)

The Rayados front office has warned its well-paid players that unless there is improvement on the field there will be subtractions from pay checks.

6. Toluca (—)

The Diablos went down to 10 men in minute 37 against Necaxa, but battled back to earn a tie. Still, dropping points at home against the lowly Rayos … not a positive development.

7. León (–4)

The Esmeraldas still play the most attractive football of any Liga MX team, but they have forgotten how to win. No way this team loses to UNAM and retains title aspirations.

8. Puebla (+4)

The Camoteros are the grittiest team in Liga MX and coach Nicolás Larcamón has his team trending upward at just the right time.

9. Atlético de San Luis (–2)

The Tuneros were an early season darling and are still in the top 10 (just barely), a significant turnaround from last season’s last-place finish.

10. Santos Laguna (–1)

The Guerreros lost for just the third time all season but seven tie games and only three wins? Well, that will keep you in the middle of the table.

11. Guadalajara

The Chivas were shut out for the eighth time, but Wednesday’s scoreless effort came against the worst defense in Liga MX. Not what you want when chasing a wildcard spot in a crowded field.

12. UNAM (+3)

The Pumas won on the road for the first time all season and it came at León. Hard to believe that they are only 2 points out of a playoff spot and with a game in hand.

13. Pachuca (–3)

The Tuzos have been a major disappointment after investing big over the summer, but they have a favorable schedule down the stretch. If they don’t maximize points, coach Paulo Pezzolano will be looking for work next month.

14. Mazatlán FC (–2)

The Cañoneros continue to be wildly inconsistent, following a convincing win over Atlas with a listless showing against Puebla.

15. Querétaro (+1)

The Gallos Blancos submitted their bid for upset of the Apertura 2021, shocking Monterrey 1-0 thanks to a brilliant 8-save effort from keeper Washington Aguerre.

15. FC Juárez (–1)

After winning three of four (including a stunning 3-1 win over Monterrey), the Bravos have been blanked twice in a row, slowing its long-shot playoff bid.

17. Necaxa (–1)

The Rayos could not hold onto a 1-0 lead over 10-man Toluca, burying themselves deeper into the cellar and heightening “relegation” issues for next season. Alex Zendejas scored his team-leading 5th goal of the season against Toluca, but it was just his first since Matchday 5.

18. Tijuana (—)

The Xolos earned a moral victory, earning a point at home against the Chivas. But Tijuana has too much talent to be grasping at such meager achievements.