Aguilas dominate season-ending Power Rankings

Jonathan Rodriguez (right) and América held the top spot in the Liga MX Power Rankings all season. (Photo by Jam Media/Getty Images)
Jonathan Rodriguez (right) and América held the top spot in the Liga MX Power Rankings all season. (Photo by Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Rankings M17
Monterrey held off Pachuca in the season finale but the two clubs could meet again in the Liga MX playoffs. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

After 153 games and 420 goals (that comes out to a rather entertaining 2.74 goals per game),

the Liga MX playoffs are set with Wildcard Weekend just around the corner.

The final matchday saw FC Juárez and Necaxa claim the final playoff spots and a few teams (most notably Santos Laguna and Cruz Azul) boosted their seeding, results that prompted a few significant changes in the final Playing for 90 Power Rankings.

The biggest climber was FC Juárez who with a convincing 3-1 win over UNAM in the season finale qualified for the Liga MX playoffs for the first time in franchise history (the Bravos were created in 2015 and won “promotion” to Liga MX by buying out Lobos BUAP in 2019).

The Chivas took the biggest tumble, falling three spots after losing its third in a row, a streak that cost them a wildcard home game. Atlético de San Luis slipped two spots – into a tie at No. 13 with Mazatlán FC – after losing badly at home when a draw would have seen them earn a playoff berth.

Final Liga MX Power Rankings of the Apertura 2022

Top-seeded América flew into the No. 1 spot in our very first Power Rankings list this season and remained there throughout, powered by its season-ending 12-game unbeaten streak. The 11-1-0 finish makes the Aguilas a favorite to claim the franchise’s 14th league championship.

A rung below Fernando Ortiz’s crew are Monterrey, Pachuca and Santos Laguna with Tigres, Cruz Azul and Toluca hoping to get on a postseason roll and stage an upset or two.

Our top 12 teams coincide with the playoff brackets except at Nos. 3 and 4 and Nos. 6 and 7.

We kept Santos Laguna at No. 4 (they are third in the league table), weighing its victory over Mazatlán FC as less impressive than Pachuca’s scoreless draw on the road against No. 2 seed Monterrey.

And Cruz Azul’s 4-game win streak down the stretch boosted the Cementeros above Toluca in our final rankings even though the Diablos bested “La Máquina” in the Apertura 2022 standings by 3 points. However, Toluca had gone 7 games without a victory until beating last-place Querétaro in Sunday’s season finale.

So, on to the rankings.

The figure in brackets after each team’s name indicates that club’s movement compared to the previous rankings. That is followed by team record (win-draw-loss) and the club’s goals for/goals against (GF/GA) stats.

1. América (—) 12-2-3, 38/17

The streaking Aguilas might be a bit bummed that they have to take a week off, but they looked sharp in their 2-1 win over Puebla after the two-week FIFA break.

2. Monterrey (+1) 10-5-2, 29/13

The Rayados held off a challenge from visiting Pachuca to secure the No. 2 seed in the Liga MX playoffs. The time off might allow top striker Rogelio Funes Mori to return to fitness.

3. Pachuca (–1) 9-5-3, 28/15

The Tuzos cooled off a bit down the stretch, but they showed flashes of the team that reached the Liga MX Finals last season as the No. 1 seed.

4. Santos Laguna (—) 10-3-4, 38/21

The Guerreros have been able to outscore opponents (their 38 goals ties América for tops in Liga MX) and their defense might get a boost from the return of defender Matheus Doria whose been out since late July.

5. Tigres (—) 9-3-5, 24/14

This team doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its parts, but injuries have played a role in this. Still, if Miguel Herrera can’t design scoring plays with the line-up he has available, his job tenure could become wobbly.

6. Cruz Azul (+2) 7-3-7, 26/34

The Cementeros responded well to new coach Raúl Gutiérrez and their 5-1-1 burst down the stretch not only lifted “La Máquina” into the playoffs, but it earned them a home game on Wildcard Weekend.

7. Toluca (—) 7-6-4, 27/23

The Diablos Rojos have struggled to figure out coach Ignacio Ambriz’s complicated offensive game plans and have shown a tendency to squander leads late.

8. Puebla (+3) 4-10-3, 25/23

The Camoteros weren’t as aggressive in midfield in losing to América as they usually are, but Nicolás Larcamón’s men rarely beat themselves, a fact highlighted by its league-high 10 draws.

9. Guadalajara (–3) 5-7-5, 19/17

The Chivas staggered down the stretch, winning just once in September (and losing both friendlies during the FIFA break).

10. León (–1) 6-4-7, 25/29

The Esmeraldas had a chance to finish in seventh place and host a wildcard game, but put in an indifferent performance in the season finale, nearly losing to Tijuana.

11. FC Juárez (+5) 4-7-6, 17/18

The Bravos are an unlikely playoff participant this season. Basically, they just lost fewer times down the stretch than did Mazatlán FC and Atlético de San Luis.

12. Necaxa (—) 5-4-8, 19/26

The Rayos backed into the postseason, tumbling from seventh place by going winless in its final five matches (0-2-3) and just barely hanging on to the 12th and final playoff berth.

13. Mazatlán FC (—) 3-8-6, 17/24

13. Atlético de San Luis (–2) 4-6-7, 15/23

Each team controlled its own destiny but the Cañoneros sank out of contention by finishing 0-2-2  and the Tuneros limped to the line with a 1-1-4 mark.

15. Tijuana (+1) 4-5-8, 18/30

Xolos ownership has already cleared out the front office after another hefty investment over the summer produced lackluster play.

16. Atlas (—) 3-4-10, 16/27

The two-time defending Liga MX champs simply ran out of gas early in the Apertura 2022 after two straight seasons of grinding it out. Injuries took a toll though the front office did get a lengthy look at its young bench players

17. UNAM (—) 2-8-7, 21/31

The Pumas fired coach Andrés Lillini on Tuesday after the team crashed and burned despite a significant roster overhaul this past summer.

Next. Cruz Azul defeats Chivas late, earns No. 7 seed. dark

18. Querétaro (—) 1-6-10, 18/35

The Gallos Blancos are on the auction block but not sure who in their right mind would want to buy this floundering franchise.