M15: Aguilas still flying high in Liga MX Power Rankings

Miguel Layún and America remain in the No. 1 spot in the latest Liga MX Power Rankings. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Miguel Layún and America remain in the No. 1 spot in the latest Liga MX Power Rankings. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Rankings 15
Pumas players salute their home fans after defeating Tijuana to win their third Liga MX match in a row. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

The three-games-in-11-days frenzy completed on Sunday didn’t shake out the Liga MX table as much as I’d hoped, and with just two matchdays remaining 16th-place FC Juárez (16 points) is only 6 points out of a Top 4 seed (Tigres – 22 points).

Defending champions Cruz Azul is only 3 points better than 14th-place UNAM and they meet at the CU on the season’s final weekend, perhaps with a playoff spot on the line.

At the very top, América has already secured the No. 1 seed and Atlas has clinched at least a wildcard spot. Everyone else (except last-place Tijuana) still entertains postseason dreams. That makes for a cluster of teams lumped in a muddled mess, with little margin for error if they hope to reach the Liguilla.

As a result, not much separates fourth place from 12th place in these rankings and that means there could be wild swings in the final two lists yet to come.

Liga MX Power Rankings: M15

You know the drill … the figure in parentheses after the team name reflect that club’s movement compared to the previous rankings. After 15 matchdays, here’s were we stand (and, yes, there is a tie for 15th place):

1. América (—)

The Aguilas won’t be relaxing despite a comfortable lead atop the table. Coach Santiago Solari was hired to win trophies but Thursday’s Concacaf Champions League final against Monterrey won’t distract from Sunday’s “Junior Classic” against Cruz Azul.

2. Tigres (—)

Miguel Herrera’s squad couldn’t provide him with a measure of revenge, coming up short against América in Herrera’s return to Estadio Azteca. But if not for five marvelous saves by Guillermo Ochoa, “El Piojo” might have had the last laugh.

3. Atlas (—)

The Zorros had 13 goals through 14 games then put six balls in the net against Atlético de San Luis. The Guadalajara-based club still leads Liga MX in fewest goals allowed (8).

(Of course, Atlas promptly allowed 2 goals to Tijuana in an early Matchday 16 game, so expect “Los Rojinegros” to tumble from third next week.)

4. Toluca (+2)

The Diablos Rojos were on the verge of a brilliant road win at Santos Laguna until “El Mudo” Aguirre banged home a late, late equalizer (minute 90+5).

5. Cruz Azul (–1)

The Cementeros looked about to stake a claim to a Top 4 seed and a first-round bye only to forget to play defense on a late corner kick. An unforgivable lapse that could make for a very tough playoff bracket.

6. León (+1)

The Esmeraldas continue to play some of the most artful and creative offense … except for the scoring part. But “La Fiera” earned a tough win at Puebla thanks to an own goal and at this stage of the season 3 points is 3 points.

7. Monterrey (–2)

The Rayados have lost four Liga MX matches in a row and suddenly coach Javier Aguirre’s seat is getting quite hot. A win in the Concacaf Champions League final could relieve some of that pressure, but “El Vasco” might need to make a deep playoff run to keep his job.

8. Mazatlán FC (+6)

The 6-spot rise for the Cañoneros does not suggest that rookie coach Beñat San José has his team streaking at the right time. Rather it reflects the reality of a bunch of tie games and upsets on Matchday 15. Still, The Purple Gang is in great position to reach the playoffs for the first time since relocating from Morelia in summer 2020.

9. Puebla (–1)

The Camoteros are a headache to play against even if they don’t always come away with the points. If they earn a wildcard spot, nobody will want to face them and Nicolás Lacarmón will deserve Liga MX Coach of the Year recognition.

10. Santos Laguna (–1)

The Guerreros are a shell of the team that strutted to the Guardianes 2021 finals, but their offensive production is down and the withering pressure defense is not as impregnable as it was last season.

11. UNAM (+1)

The Pumas were keeping company with Tijuana in the cellar until a 3-game win streak culminating in Sunday’s 3-1 win over those very Xolos has “Los Felinos” making playoff plans.

12. Guadalajara (–1)

The Chivas have the second-worst offense in Liga MX (11 goals in 15 games) and look likely to have a very brief postseason adventure this season. Neither Alexis Vega nor Uriel Antuna (both Olympic bronze medal winners) have yet to score all season. In fact, the club just hired all-time leading scorer Omar Bravo to work with the strikers. Perhaps too little, too late.

13. Pachuca (—)

The Tuzos sputtered out of the gate (after a season-opening victory), then sputtered through midseason, and now they appear to be sputtering to the finish line.

14. Necaxa (+3)

The Rayos are tied with Tijuana for most losses in Liga MX, but are a point out of a playoff spot with a winnable game against Mazatlán on Friday. The season-ender at León is a bit more problematic.

15. FC Juárez (—)

The Bravos have hit the skids after a Matchday 12 upset of Monterrey, scoring just once in the past three games which is why they went 0-1-2.

15. Atlético de San Luis (–6)

The Tuneros seemed to have stopped a free-fall after hard-fought draws against León and América only to collapse against Atlas at home, conceding six goals. With a game in hand, San Luis has a chance to squeak into the playoffs. That would be a significant achievement after finishing dead last a season ago.

17. Querétaro (–2)

The Gallos Blancos followed up a fantastic win over Monterrey with a hapless performance against Mazatlán. Three points out of a playoff spot means playoff hopes are bleak.

Next. Barça finally sack Koeman. dark

18. Tijuana (—)

The Xolos are the worst team in Liga MX, just a single victory through 15 games and a –14 goal differential. (See above [3. Atlas] … Tijuana was beating the Zorros 2-0 in minute 85 of their Matchday 16 contest when this article was published.)