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
The Rayos of Necaxa were in 10th place heading into the final weekend, but a 3-0 loss at León sealed their fate. (Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Rayos top the ‘wait-till-next-year’ crowd

14. Necaxa (–2)

The Rayos had a three-game losing streak as well as a four-game losing streak after 10 games yet still were somehow in the playoff hunt until the final day. A Liga MX-high nine losses did them in. Coach Pablo Guede took over on Matchday 12 and went 2-2-2 to finish out the Apertura 2021. The former Morelia and Tijuana manager knows by now that his defense is atrocious and his front line is comprised of selfish, 1-on-1 players who look for their shot first, second and third, rarely looking to pass to a teammate inside the final third. There is talent in midfield, but unfortunately a 0-10-0 formation would not be successful.

15. Pachuca (–1)

The Tuzos beat León 4-0 in their season-opener and … well, that was the highlight of the season. The 3-6-7 record that came after – a 15th place finish after reaching the semifinals last season – cost Paulo Pezzolano his job. The Uruguayan leaves having helped develop a core of young players – Erick Sánchez, Kevin Álvarez, Bryan González and Roberto de la Rosa – but the front office must know that it badly misspent money over the summer and the resulting upheaval in the locker room proved to be Pachuca’s undoing.

16. FC Juárez (—)

The Bravos are a low-wage club that tried to learn a new tactical scheme under legendary coach “Tuca” Ferretti. The complex strategy requires smart play, patience, and mental and physical discipline. There were times – though few and far between – where it seemed as if the Bravos had grasped the fundamentals, but the talent is simply lacking.

17. Querétaro (—)

The Gallos Blancos have the smallest payroll in Liga MX and it showed, especially on offense as the team registered a measly 11 goals in 17 games. Leonardo Ramos took the reins ahead of Matchday 7 after the Gallos started 0-3-3 with just 1 goal scored. Will the front office invest in new players during the winter break to avoid “relegation” issues?

18. Tijuana (—)

The Xolos are a perfect example of a team that is less than the sum of its parts … a great deal less. There is talent on the roster, but on the pitch there was no doubt that this was the worst team in Liga MX. Sebastián Méndez was brought in to replace Robert Siboldi with only four games remaining, and the team won its last two games, but there is reason to believe the Argentine manager will not be around come January.