Necaxa slips, trades places with resurgent Santos

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Santos Laguna – the team that has been at the top of these rankings most often this season returns to No. 1.

The Apertura continues to be a very unpredictable season and Matchday 14 was no different. Last week’s No. 1 – Necaxa – settled for a draw at home despite playing with a man advantage for 52 minutes, while the hottest team in the league – Pachuca – looked completely lost against modest FC Juárez.

No doubt, some teams were impacted more by the FIFA break than others because key players were not available for a full 90 minutes since they had played on Tuesday. That was not the case for either Necaxa or Pachuca, however.

The top of the table is pretty well established – though not the final seeding – but only one team has truly been eliminated, and nine teams are within 7 points of eighth-place Morelia with five games to play.

Preseason contenders Monterrey and Cruz Azul continue to flounder, while Necaxa – despite a disappointing home draw on Saturday – seems to be a legit playoff team.

One thing to keep in mind is the bye. Monterrey rests this coming weekend, Necaxa takes its break the week thereafter. Cruz Azul, Atlas and América have the final three byes down the stretch.

That being said, teams have one more FIFA break to contend with before the postseason. That will come between Matchday 18 and the final weekend.

Next week could go a long way in separating the grain from the chaff. Four pretenders in particular face virtual must-win games: the Pumas (at Querétaro), Atlas (vs Necaxa), Atlético San Luis (at León) and Cruz Azul (at Tigres).

Before we look more closely at next week’s schedule, here is the latest edition of the Viva Liga MX Power Rankings. As always, the figure in parentheses after each team indicates the movement from last week’s ranking.

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