Final Liga MX Power Rankings: Apertura 2021

América edged the visiting Tigres 1-0 back on Oct. 23 in a game that could have been a Liga MX finals preview. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
América edged the visiting Tigres 1-0 back on Oct. 23 in a game that could have been a Liga MX finals preview. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
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Liga MX final rankings
Anderson Santamaría (left) and Hugo Nervo (right) anchored a stingy Atlas defense that will be relied upon to carry the load in the Liga MX playoffs. (Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Apertura 2021 provided a rousing finish with two teams (UNAM, Atlético de San Luis) squeaking into the Liga MX playoffs on the final day of the season.

Despite the dramatic conclusion to Matchday 17, the majority of the games this season lacked thrills (1-0 was the most frequent score-line and there were 20 scoreless draws), so fans will expect some compensation in the playoffs.

We could also talk about the plethora of officiating errors but we’ll skip the rest of the small talk and get right to the list.

Remember, the figure in parentheses after each club reflects the team’s movement compared to the previous rankings.

Liga MX Power Rankings

1. América (—)

For the Aguilas, the FIFA break comes at a perfect time. Santiago Solari has been under some pressure as “Los AzulCremas” hit the skids after clinching the No. 1 Liga MX playoff seed in mid-October only to lose the Concacaf Champions League Final then finish the season on a two-game winless streak. That’s no big deal for most teams, but Aguilas Nation demands perfection. The title favorites can now rest, get healthy (and hope none of its players get hurt on international duty) and wait to see who they play in the quarterfinals.

2. Tigres (—)

The Tigres took all season to adapt to new coach Miguel Herrera, but still readily fall back on “Tuca-ball” (after all, they won five Liga MX titles playing that conservative, ball-control style). With its strike force getting healthy (André-Pierre Gignac had a brace in the penultimate game vs Chivas, while Liga MX co-scoring champ Nico López hit for a double in the finale), this team looks set to make a deep run in the Liguilla. Another Tigres-América final, perhaps?

3. Atlas (—)

The Zorros snagged the No. 2 seed but recent losses to Mazatlán FC and last-place Tijuana suggest this team isn’t quite ready for Prime Time. Diego Cocca will rely on his sturdy, stingy back line in the playoffs, but Julio Furch and Julián Quiñones could use some help up front. Will Jairo Torres or Christopher Trejo step up?

4. León (+1)

The Esmeraldas played shut-down defense down the stretch (six clean sheets in their last seven games), but their offense sputtered. Víctor Dávila’s hat trick in the finale against Necaxa offers some hope (but must be taken with a grain of salt since the Rayos do not boast a top-line defense). The lengthy absence of captain Luis Montes is a primary reason for the offensive woes, but the reappearance of Fernando Navarro provided some spark. If “El Chapo” is available by the time the quarterfinals roll around, watch out for “La Fiera!”