Liga MX: Final Apertura VLMX Power Rankings

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - DECEMBER 13: The champions trophy is shown during the final second leg match between Pumas UNAM and Tigres UANL as part of the Apertura 2015 Liga MX at Olimpico Universitario Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - DECEMBER 13: The champions trophy is shown during the final second leg match between Pumas UNAM and Tigres UANL as part of the Apertura 2015 Liga MX at Olimpico Universitario Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images) /

The Liga MX Apertura 2018 has concluded and it is Liguilla time! Are the eight playoff teams the best in the minds of our team?

Well that was fun, right? We’ve come through 17 match days, seen an average of 2.68 goals, 3.94 yellow cards and 0.33 red cards per match. Liga MX is great.

The Rankings

1. Cruz Azul (+0)
Cruz Azul gets the top seed and deserved it. It’s not been pretty every match, but they won the Copa MX and now get the most favorable match of the opening round in Liguilla. Will they finally do it?

Tom Buckley: In first place 12 weeks, second place 4 weeks and third place 1 week. Consistent, winning soccer, nada más.

2. Club America (+0)
A convincing win against a team they needed to have one against. Feel like the favorites to me, even though they’ve been inconsistent. They have the individual skill to push through, but will they put together enough team play to handle Liguilla teams being well-organized defensively?

Tom Buckley: The deepest and most talented team. Will coach Herrera pull the right strings?

3. Santos Laguna (+1)
If Julio Furch can score in Liguilla with the efficiency he has this Apertura, Santos will be in good shape trying to pair their Clausura 2018 title with the Apertura 2018 version.

Tom Buckley: If not for an own goal, defending champs might have earned the No. 3 seed over the Pumas.

4. Tigres (+1)
Sleep-walking through the Aperutra, Tigres still look like an extremely dangerous 6-seed. Andre Pierre-Gignac ended the season at the league’s top goal-scorer and Tigres was 2nd-overall in team scoring while allowing less than 20 goals on the season.

Tom Buckley: They show signs of greatness, but then slip into periods of complacency.

5. Pumas (-2)
Battled back to draw with Santos Laguna and secure the 3rd seed in Liguilla on goal differential. Stuttered a bit down the stretch but can still score enough to be a threat.

Tom Buckley: These road warriors failed to protect home turf – 2-4-2 at CU.

6. Monterrey (+0)
Another team with a ton of talent on paper, but no major victories to point to for why they should be considered a favorite. They’ll get Santos Laguna in round one of Liguilla, so it doesn’t get any easier.

Tom Buckley: With injury issues all season, will the Rayados be able to survive two games a week?

7. Toluca ( +0)
Very disappointing end of the season for Los Diablos. They didn’t have a ton to play for Sunday night against Lobos BUAP, but being shut out still can’t instill much confidence to go up against Club America.

Tom Buckley: Lots of talent and a physical style of play, but lack of discipline comes back to bite them.

8. Queretaro (+2)
They pulled it off! They had the easiest final two matches in the league and were able to take advantage of Monarcas falling to Cruz Azul and Pachuca’s collapse.

Tom Buckley: A disciplined team that can hurt you on the counter. They deserve to be in the playoffs.

9. Monarcas (+0)
Tall task to overcome Cruz Azul, but still had a chance on the last match-day. If they can figure out some consistency, they could have a nice Clausura 2019 in store.

Tom Buckley: The midseason 4-game winless streak did the Monarcas in.

10. Pachuca (-2)
Such a disappointment. Facing Atlas and Leon in the final two match days, they came away with just two points and one total goal.

Tom Buckley: What a collapse! Two stinkers to close the season cost them a spot in La Liguilla.

11. Lobos (+1)
Finished the season on a heckuva run and made their way all the way up to 13th. They finished 10th in the 2017 version of the Apertura, though, so they’ll need to carry the momentum over to really take the next step.

Tom Buckley: Upstarts finished the year looking like a playoff contender. Can they keep Leo Ramos?

12. Chivas (-1)
20 points out of a possible 51 makes for a sad season for Chivas. Might they make some big moves in the winter?

Tom Buckley: Injuries and locker room issues really hurt this club.

13. Leon (+0)
A nice draw against Pachuca to end the season, but they need someone or a couple of players, preferably, to be a consistent scorer to be a contender. They scored just 18 goals in 17 matches.

Tom Buckley: An aggravating team to root for. Look strong one week and terrible the next.

14. Puebla (+0)
Looked like they might have a shot at Liguilla for a bit, there. Finished tied with Chivas on points, but rank below the Guadalajara side due to a -7 goal differential.

Tom Buckley: The Camoteros arguably overachieved but have a long way to go.

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15. Club Tijuana (+0)
Only Atlas scored less goal than Club Tijuana’s 13. With a new coach rumored to be on the way in Oscar Pareja, it will be interesting if Xolos can find some offense. 

Tom Buckley: A season that showed such promise … Xolos were winless since Matchday 10.

16. Necaxa (+0)
Despite finishing 3rd-to-last, they were able to beat Cruz Azul and Club America, the top two teams in Liga MX, plus they drew with Tigres and Monterrey. There is some talent there. Can they bring it all out consistently?

Tom Buckley: The Rayos showed some fight in the loss to Querétaro, but the offense is poor.

17. Atlas (+0)
Looked like a lower-ten-position team in the 2nd half of the Apertura, which is an improvement from the dead-last version from the 1st half. Still a long way to go to reach contention.

Tom Buckley: Team president Rafa Márquez must upgrade this roster … fast.

18. Veracruz (+0)
Worst in goals allowed, 3rd worst in goals scored. Where do Los Tiburones start to turn things around? Young goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado did some nice things against America, making 12 saves, including a save on a penalty kick, despite Veracruz still losing 4-1.

Tom Buckley: The worst defense in the league, by far, and a -27 goal differential. Enough said.