After 10 weeks and 7 straight wins, Leon has made clear they are one of the top teams in Liga MX.
Leon is one the most balanced teams in the Liga MX. But not just balanced as in equally good on offense and defense, but as in quite excellent on both offense and defense.
A 7-game win streak now has the Esmeraldas on top of the table, tied with the Tigres at 23 points through 10 games but ahead on goal differential. Leon has been on top of our Power Rankings the past three weeks, but now they are on top of the Liga MX standings looking down, too.
After being held to only 1 goal by Lobos BUAP on Sunday, “La Fiera” is averaging 2.3 goals per game (tied for the league lead with Monterrey), while only giving up a league low 6 goals. With the win, Leon was able to leapfrog the Tigres and Monterrey after those two teams battled to a 1-1 draw in the Clasico Regiomontano on Saturday night.
The Lobos did not appear to play a great game, but a close look at the stats tells a different story. Leon was held to only 11 shots and just 5 on goal while the hosts took aim 15 times, hitting the target 4 times. However, Leon goalie Rodolfo Cota had a splendid game, blocking all 4 shots on goal.
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The Esmeraldas got on the scoreboard in minute 27 when fullback Fernando Navarro sent in a lofted cross from the right side to captain Luis “El Chapo” Montes who headed the ball over goalie Jose Antonio Rodriguez back toward the right post. Montes had made a brilliant run through the defense after sending a pass wide to Navarro.
In the second half, Joel Campbell looked like he had scored his first goal for Leon with a nifty volley off a low cross, but it was annulled after video assistant replay showed the ball had gone out of bounds before the centering pass was made.
The Lobos fought to the end, pressing the attack the entire game, but Leon’s back line – led by Andres Mosquera, who had a eye-catching performance – helped preserve the clean sheet that gave “La Fiera” all 3 points.
Ignacio Ambriz’s men played a smart game, adapted to the Lobos’ pressing tactics and patiently controlling ball, finishing with 55% possession. The Lobos deserve plaudits for their performance against such an explosive offense. Leon had scored at least 2 goals in every game but one before Sunday.
“Los Panzas Verdes” return home for Matchday 11, welcoming the winless Tiburones Rojos of Veracruz to the Estadio Nou Camp. No doubt Leon will be favored to earn their 8th consecutive victory.
The Lobos will visit Morelia Friday night, eager to secure their spot in Liga MX. They can save themselves from relegation with 6 games to play if Veracruz fails to win vs Leon or if the Lobos earn a point at Morelia.