Monterrey, América stay in stride as other contenders fall off the pace

Matchday 11 provides surprises with Cruz Azul, Chivas and Pachuca taking a tumble

Jordi Cortizo (right) and Monterrey remain at the top of the Liga MX standings after defeating Mazatlán FC 2-1 on Sunday night.
Jordi Cortizo (right) and Monterrey remain at the top of the Liga MX standings after defeating Mazatlán FC 2-1 on Sunday night. / Azael Rodriguez/GettyImages

It was a weekend of surprises in Liga MX as most of the contenders chose Matchday 11 to polish their numpty credentials, a few others opted for slapstick and simply stepped on a rake.

Monterrey and América were the lone exceptions to the inanity, both winning with aplomb to secure first and second place, respectively. No surprise, there, to be sure as the Rayados and Aguilas have finished 1-2 in the standings each of the past three seasons.

But elsewhere, it was mayhem. Cruz Azul and Pachuca were tied with Monterrey heading into the weekend, but both played coyote to lesser opponents’ roadrunner. 

Toluca and UNAM faced teams at the bottom of the table and settled for draws, while Guadalajara face-planted at León and Tigres players had “Kick me” signs taped to their backs by América.

Liga MX champs, Rayados rise above chaos

Monterrey – the league’s lone unbeaten – holds top spot on the Liga MX table for the third straight week, coasting past Mazatlán FC while rotating several stars to keep them fresh ahead of Thursday’s Concacaf Champions Cup match against FC Cincinnati. 

Despite resting 10 of 11 starters, holders América barely broke a sweat at home against a Tigres team battling to reach a third consecutive Liga MX final. To be fair, Tigres also rested many regulars (both clubs have midweek Concachampions duty) but the visitors seemed out of sorts, missing passes, looking unfamiliar with tactics and squandering scoring chances.

While the Aguilas moved into second place, Tigres fell into 7th with a sputtering offense that should concern Robert Siboldi who could be accused of over-rotating his players such that they still don’t know their roles.

Fourth-place Pachuca – another team with a Concacaf match coming up this week – also opted for a second-choice line-up and it cost them their perfect home record, stunned by a mediocre Querétaro side who took an early lead then spent the rest of the game mugging any Tuzos player near the ball. Their physical play worked, and the Gallos Blancos have now won three of four.

Cruz Azul had been the revelation of the tournament, playing an aggressive, attacking style complemented by a defense that was transformed from second-worst to second-best. However, “La Maquina Azul” not only got pantsed by Santos Laguna but coach Martín Anselmi must now address Willer Ditta’s lack of discipline (or enroll the defender in an anger management course).

Ditta was ejected for a second straight time and the Cementeros coughed up 3 goals to a Guerreros side that had scored but 8 times in 10 previous games. Still, Cruz Azul sits third in the Liga MX standings.

Another early-season title hopeful, Guadalajara, has hit the skids and their season could be on the verge of spiraling out of control.

The Chivas have lost four of five matches, beaten at home for a second time in four days, falling to 9th place with the club’s demanding fans booing them lustily as they trudged off the Estadio Akron pitch after Saturday’s loss to León.

The other contenders to stumble were Toluca and UNAM, both of whom settled for draws against FC Juárez and Tijuana, respectively. The Bravos and Xolos are the only two Liga MX teams without a win on the season, but both will be content with the point earned.

Toluca – the second-best offense in Liga MX – managed just one goal against last-place Juárez while UNAM coughed up a 3-1 lead at home and, worse, conceded all three goals from the penalty spot.

The 8th-place Pumas could have climbed into 6th if they’d held on for a win, but now they’ll travel to Toluca next weekend to take on the 5th-place Diablos Rojos without their stud central defender Lisandro Magallán who picked up an early red card for a foul that gave Tijuana its first penalty kick.


On the other side of the coin, Querétaro, León and Santos Laguna climbed into the last three play-in spots (10th, 11th and 12th, respectively) thanks to their upset wins on this wild Liga MX weekend.