Guadalajara rises four spots after their stunning upset over top-ranked León, but little else changed.
León lost for the first time since Jan. 20, but that did not cost them the top spot in the Viva Liga MX Power Rankings. The Esmeraldas have the No. 1 seed in the playoffs all sewn up and without the pressure of maintaining an historic winning streak, coach Ignacio Ambriz and his squad can relax until the playoffs kick off in 10 days.
Very little changed after Matchday 16, suggesting we have the teams exactly where they ought to be. The only real movement can be found near the cellar where the Chivas leaped 4 spots after their stunning win over León while Morelia sank 4 spots after an embarrassing home loss to Tijuana.
With one week remaining in the Clausura 2019 and only one playoff spot yet to fill, here’s a look at our penultimate Power Rankings.
1. León (–)
Some might say León got jobbed by ref Alejandro Funk who waved off a penalty against the Chivas in the first half. But a loss before the playoffs might help the Esmeraldas avoid complacency.
2. Tigres (–)
The Tigres were looking past Puebla to a more important contest – Wednesday’s Concacaf Champions League Final against Monterrey. The have clinched the No. 2 seed in the Liguilla and look to be getting healthy at the right time.
3. Monterrey (–)
Rayados coach Diego Alonso rested almost all his starters against Necaxa, saving energy for the Clásico Regiomontano in the CCL Final. They will secure the No. 3 seed in the playoffs with a win over Atlas next weekend.
4. Cruz Azul (–)
The Cementeros are on a 9-game unbeaten streak (6-3-0, 20 goals for, 7 goals against) and they looked potent against Lobos BUAP. A win at Morelia is the only thing standing between Cruz Azul and the No. 4 seed.
5. América (–)
The Aguilas are still having trouble finding goals, but they are so powerful through the middle of the field that they can intimidate any team. Their 1-0 home win against Santos was a microcosm of their season. Since they finish the season at Veracruz, there is little chance of them finishing lower than No. 8. In fact, they could sneak their way into a No. 5 seed and set up a Junior Classic in the quarterfinals.
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6. Pachuca (–)
The Tuzos have been so dominant at home that when Atlas went down to 9 men at the 31-minute mark, the fans at Estadio Hidalgo smelled a rout. Instead, Pachuca squeaked by with a 1-0 win. They close with a visit to León, a true test before the quarterfinals.
7. Necaxa (–)
The Rayos have every reason to feel aggrieved after the way ref Jonathan Hernández and his team of officials screwed them over at Monterrey. Necaxa held on for a tie and that point was enough to clinch a playoff spot.
8. Puebla (+1)
The Camoteros played the No. 2 Tigres rather even, but face a win-or-go-home scenario next week against Tijuana.
9. Tijuana (+1)
The Xolos finally awoke from their slumber and the sparkling win over Morelia means all they need is a tie at home against Puebla on Saturday night and they are back in the Liguilla.
10. Toluca (-2)
The Diablos fell behind UNAM 2-0, fought back and tied the match but could not find the winner in the final half hour. Toluca allowed 32 shots on goal as the Pumas ran rampant through midfield and the draw eliminated the Diablos from the playoff race.
11. Santos (–)
Santos fell meekly to América, managing only 2 shots on goal. Their defense stood up strong but a lack of scoring (only two teams have fewer goals) has hurt them all season.
12. Lobos BUAP (–)
Their playoff dreams were shattered with a disappointing 4-1 loss at home to Cruz Azul. Still, most pundits predicted the Lobos would be fighting relegation instead of battling for the Liguilla.
13. Guadalajara (+4)
The Chivas finally showed some life and gave their fans a great home finale after stinking it up all season. A win in the finale at the Tigres would help reduce relegation concerns for next year.
14. UNAM (–)
The Pumas finished in third place last season but could find themselves in the bottom third of the table at season’s end.
15. Atlas (–)
The front office has lots of work to do before the Apertura 2019 after the Zorros horrid 2-0-9 stretch run.
16. Querétaro (–)
The Gallos Blancos earned their third win of the season but are 0-0-7 on the road. A win at Necaxa next weekend could produce a modicum of momentum heading into the summer.
17. Morelia (-4)
Only one team has given up more goals than the Monarcas, who conceded 30 (Veracruz has 32 goals against), so management knows where to focus its attention.
18. Veracruz (–)
The Tiburones’ disastrous season ends with a visit from América. That means the toothless team from the port city are likely to make history by ending the season with 0 points.