Power Rankings: Three-way tie hints at thrilling race

Necaxa went to Monterrey and stunned the Rayados, earning consideration for the top spot in our Power Rankings. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Necaxa went to Monterrey and stunned the Rayados, earning consideration for the top spot in our Power Rankings. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Querétaro, Santos and Necaxa share the top spot after Matchday 9, while two title favorites – Monterrey and Cruz Azul – languish in the bottom third.

The Viva Liga MX Power Rankings mirror the league table as we’ve got a three-way tie at the top. Necaxa is first in the Liga MX standings on goal differential but since they’ve played one more game than Santos and Querétaro – and since their presence in the lead is such a surprise – we couldn’t see our way to placing them at No. 1.

The Rayos will get their chance to convince us we are wrong to hedge our bets when they host León on Saturday as six of our top seven teams play among themselves on Matchday 10. Querétaro visits América, while Santos travels to Atlético San Luis for Gustavo Matosas’ home debut as coach of the Tuneros.

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There was some significant movement in our rankings this week, a not uncommon occurrence coming off a FIFA break. The notorious FIFA flu (when players return from international duty injured or exhausted) did not seem to have a big impact although some players who were busy during the FIFA break (América’s Roger Martínez, for instance) were subbed out earlier than usual.

Without further ado, here are our Power Rankings after Matchday 9, roughly the halfway point of the Liga MX season. The number and/or symbol in parentheses after each team indicates their movement in relation to the previous rankings.

1. Querétaro (+2)

When the Gallos Blancos take the pitch at Estadio Azteca on Saturday, it will have been nearly three weeks since their last competitive match (a 1-1 draw against Puebla on Sept. 1). They will be rested, but will they be sharp.

Liga MX Power Rankings Week 9
Julio Furch scored twice against Pachuca to earn a tie for the Guerreros. He now has 7 goals to lead the league. (Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

1. Santos (–)

The Guerreros had not played since Aug. 28, but after falling behind 2-0 to Pachuca at home on Sunday, Julio Furch & Co. fought back to earn a draw.

1. Necaxa (+3)

The Rayos are not doing it with mirrors. They rely on an aggressive offensive mind-set and flowing team movement to attack their opponents. Monterrey had been dominant at home this season before Saturday (3-0-0) but Necaxa was not intimidated.

4. León (-2)

The Esmeraldas were losing at home to Juarez until Angel Mena and William Tesillo woke up the team. They’ll need to be sharper next week or Necaxa might punish them.

Liga MX Power Rankings Week 9
Federico Viñas (left) scored less than 30 seconds into his debut for América, but the Aguilas could not hold on for the win in the Clásico Capitalino. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images) /

5. América (+1)

The Aguilas went a man down against the Pumas in minute 17 yet seemed the team more likely to win, especially after scoring first in minute 78. Miguel Herrera’s men are slowly getting healthy so watch out for the Aguilas down the stretch.

6. Tigres (+1)

The Tigres have the league’s longest undefeated streak (7 games), but the last 5 in that stretch have all been draws. That simply won’t do it.

7. Atlético San Luis (+3)

The Tuneros could be a team to watch the rest of the way as new coach Gustavo Matosas begins to imprint his style on the team.

Liga MX Power Rankings Week 9
Tijuana was lucky to earn a draw against the Tigres. (Photo by Fausto Vargas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

8. Tijuana (+2)

The Xolos needed a controversial penalty in added time to earn a point at home on Friday. They looked quite vulnerable on defense, but the Tigres were the team that couldn’t shoot straight.

9. Guadalajara (+5)

The Chivas are becoming more comfortable with coach Tomás Boy’s tactics, moving the ball quickly and pressing forward. If they can start getting the ball on net, this team could be a threat down the stretch.

9. Atlas (-4)

The Zorros really laid an egg against the Chivas after looking so impressive against América. This is a young team and their lack of experience was exposed during the Clásico Tapatío.

11.  Morelia (+4)

Since making a coaching change after Matchday 5, the Monarcas have gone 3-1-0 and climbed from 15th place to 8th in the league table. They host the Chivas on Friday in what could be the best match of the weekend.

11. Pachuca (+1)

The Tuzos deserved more than a tie at Santos Sunday. They clanged the metal behind Jonathan Orozco three times after taking a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes. Coach Martín Palermo has a nice-looking roster, but production is lacking.

13. UNAM (-4)

Watching coach Miguel González on the sidelines during the Clásico Capitalino was entertaining. His contortions, grimaces, gestures and exhortations were constant as his team wasted a man advantage for the final 73 minutes of the match and settled for a draw.

14. Monterrey (-6)

The Rayados appear to be in serious trouble and coach Diego Alonso suddenly finds himself on the hot seat. Monterrey has already lost 5 games this season, after losing only 3 during the Clausura 2019. This team is stacked – especially on offense – yet they have been shut out two games in a row.

Liga MX Power Rankings Week 9
Cruz Azul looked sluggish against the worst team in Liga MX, floundering their way to a scoreless draw against Veracruz. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

15. Cruz Azul (-1)

This team is a mess. The front office turned a simple coaching change into a soap opera and it’s not clear the players know what’s going on or who is in charge. A recipe for disaster.

16. Puebla (–)

The Camoteros are a bad team and coach Juan Reynoso’s job is to stop the bleeding and salvage the season (meaning don’t finish in last place).

17. FC Juárez (+1)

The Bravos play hard, but the talent gap is noticeable. They are tied for the league lead in most losses (6). They host Veracruz on Sunday in a must-win game for Gabriel Caballero.

18. Toluca (-1)

Coach Ricardo La Volpe is likely to have been sent packing by the time you read this. The Diablos have too much talent to be in 18th place in the Liga MX table.

19. Veracruz (–)

The Tiburones battled Cruz Azul to a scoreless draw at home on Friday, the first time in 20 matches they did not give up at least one goal. The result, however, is more a commentary on the state of the Cementeros than on Veracruz’s performance.