Santos and Necaxa entrenched at the top

Gerardo Arteaga of Santos does a back flip after opening the scoring against Cruz Azul on Sunday. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images)
Gerardo Arteaga of Santos does a back flip after opening the scoring against Cruz Azul on Sunday. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /
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León and Monterrey made big moves, while the Gallos Blancos were sent tumbling by the late-surging Chivas.

The Apertura 2019 has come down to one final weekend, but that won’t come about until after the FIFA break. In the meantime, Santos clinched the top seed and two more teams were knocked out of the playoff race. Even so, seven teams are fighting over the last two postseason spots.

Six clubs have secured seats at the Liguilla festivalSantos, Necaxa, América, León, Tigres and Querétaro. But a shake-up in the current seedings was reflected in our Power Rankings, most notably a 5-spot fall by the Gallos Blancos who looked underwhelming in their loss at Guadalajara. Going the other direction are León and Monterrey. The Esmeraldas climbed 3 spots in this week’s poll, while the Rayados rose 4 spots.

Without further ado, here are the penultimate Viva Liga MX Power Rankings for the Apertura 2018 season. A reminder: the figure in parentheses after the team name indicates the change in that club’s ranking from the previous ranking.

1. Santos (–)

The Guerreros have clinched the No. 1 seed and ended the Apertura with an 8-1-0 home record. Coach Guillermo Almada has coaxed an excellent season out of this Santos roster.

2. Necaxa (–)

The Rayos can set a new team record for points in a “short season” with a win at Puebla. Los Electricistas hit 32 points in both the Winter 1998 and Summer 1998 seasons.

Santos, Necaxa on top still
José Juan Macías (upraised arm) celebrates after scoring León’s fourth goal on Saturday against Toluca. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

3. León (+3)

The Esmeraldas sure do miss captain Luis Montes, but they are playing well at the right time. Their fluid “motion & passing” offense can be a joy to watch.

4. América (+1)

The Aguilas have completed their season with 31 points and could slip to the No. 6 seed if results don’t go their way. But nobody wants to face this team in the Liguilla.

5. Tigres (-1)

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Without doubt the league’s top defense, but the Tigres offense just can’t seem to find any scoring punch. That must change before the Liguilla begins.

6. Morelia (+1)

The Monarcas’ five-game unbeaten streak has them on the verge of returning to the playoffs for the first time since the Apertura 2018.

7. Monterrey (+4)

The Rayados have found their mojo in the nick of time, pounding Tijuana with a dash of flair. A home win over Atlas clinches a seat at the playoff table.

8. Querétaro (-5)

The Gallos Blancos really laid an egg against the Chivas though their late comeback made the loss seem respectable. Still, they head into their season finale on a three-game winless streak. Not an ideal way to enter the postseason.

9. Pachuca (-1)

The Tuzos were not shut out by the Tigres due to a lack of chances. They simply squandered every opportunity presented, and there were a few lovely ones at that.