Six of the top 7 teams will square off while sixth-place Tigres sit back and watch the carnage.
Matchday 9 produced plenty of duds as most Liga MX teams failed to re-establish rhythm after the FIFA break. With the exception of Necaxa and Atlético San Luis (road wins at Monterrey and Puebla, respectively), few teams stood out for 90 minutes.
Preseason favorites Monterrey and Cruz Azul are well off the pace and staggering at the halfway point, while the Chivas are languishing in 12th place dealing with very real relegation concerns. No doubt, a glance at the standings – and our Power Rankings – might force long-time Liga MX fans to do a double-take.
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Atop the table are Necaxa and Querétaro, tied with Santos Laguna at 17 points. Newcomer Atlético San Luis has climbed into seventh place and new coach Gustavo Matosas has ratcheted up the excitement level, while eighth-place Morelia was in 15th place just four games ago.
Fortunately, Saturday’s schedule features three top-of-the-table match-ups that promise plenty of entertainment: First-place Necaxa hosts No. 5 León (last season’s No. 1 seed entering the playoffs) at the same time No. 7 Atlético San Luis visits No. 3 Santos. Later, No. 4 América welcomes No. 2 Querétaro to Estadio Azteca. Sitting off to the side, the sixth-place Tigres will watch these showdowns from home while enjoying their bye.
Santos at Atlético San Luis
Gustavo Matosas will make his home debut on the bench for the Tuneros. The match against Santos will be his second in charge since taking over for Alfonso Sosa who was fired even though the team was 2-2-0 in his last four games.
The coaching change was made because ownership wanted more flash on offense and the team responded well to Matosas’ ideas last week, scoring a season-high 3 times at Puebla. With more time to embrace the new tactical concepts, the Tuneros will be eager to put on a show for the home fans.
Santos has struggled on the road thus far (1-1-1), but they boast the league’s leading scorer in Julio Furch (7 goals). With wingers Brian Lozano and Erick Castillo flanking Furch, the Guerreros can be explosive on attack.
Coach Guillermo Almada relies on a pressing defense led by midfielders Ulises Rivas, Fernando Gorriarán and youngster Adrián Lozano. If these three can impose themselves in the middle of the pitch, the Tuneros could find themselves on their heels.
León at Necaxa
These two teams come into their match on 5-game unbeaten streaks, although León’s is more impressive since theirs included Querétaro, Santos and the Tigres.
The Rayos and Esmeraldas each have 19 goals to lead the league though León has done it in 8 games, having served their bye in Week 4.
First-place Necaxa was in 11th place before starting on their 4-1-0 run and the Rayos are 3-2-0 at home on the season, with a +11 goal differential (14 goals, 3 goals against). Coach Memo Vázquez has his club playing with verve, led by strikers Mauro Ortega (5 goals, 3 assists) and Maxi Salas (6 goals).
After boasting the highest-scoring offense in Liga MX last season, the Esmeraldas seem to have found their rhythm, playing beautiful, flowing offense with captain Luis Montes pulling the strings in midfield.
Up front, León is led by Angel Mena (5 goals) and J.J. Macías (6 goals) and they’ll look to exploit Necaxa’s inconsistent defense. At the back, the club is gradually getting all their pieces back.
Coach Ignacio Ambriz – a Necaxa legend as a player – still has a grudge against the Rayos who fired him in 2018 right after he led Necaxa to the 2018 Copa MX Clausura title. More important will be to continue rounding into shape for the stretch run.
Necaxa goalie Hugo González has been spectacular in goal for the Rayos and he will likely have to be on his toes if the home team has any chance of winning.
Querétaro at América
The Gallos Blancos have been among the most pleasant surprises this season in Liga MX. Coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich has made some inspired decisions, most notably moving home-grown defender Luis Romo into midfield where he has proven to be a splendid two-way player.
Querétaro has been the best road team in Liga MX thus far (3-1-0, 10 goals for and 1 goal against) and they’ll be well-rested, serving their bye last week.
América has been hit hard by injuries but they are still loaded. Striker Henry Martín played for the first time last week and Gio dos Santos returned from injury row, too. The Aguilas are 3-2-0 at Estadio Azteca.
The Aguilas are a very physical team and they will try to impose their will on the visitors. The ref in charge could play a big role here, depending on how he calls the match. Only one team in Liga MX has more yellow cards than América, while the Gallos Blancos are the league’s most disciplined team.
The rest of the Liga MX Matchday 10 schedule:
Guadalajara at Morelia
Toluca at Atlas
Puebla at Monterrey
Tijuana at Pachuca
Cruz Azul at UNAM
Veracruz at FC Juárez