The Liga MX 2015 Apertura season is winding down and that means that the playoffs are nearing meaning that the top eight teams in the table will battle it out for the chance to be champion. With that said, 32 Flags will examine the path to la Liguilla as the season draws to a close.
Technically, all 18 teams in the Mexican First Division have a chance of achieving a spot in the playoffs, but realistically I see only 14 of them have a viable shot at the playoffs. Teams will be separated into three tiers, the top tier of teams that will make the playoffs at top seeds, the teams holding on to last spots, and the teams that are on the outside looking in.
As of right now the top teams in the Liga MX are Pumas, Toluca, León, and América. These teams all have 24+ points and are expected to make the playoffs. Pumas just came off a great 3-1 win over León that solidified their spot at the top, and left León in the fourth position. Toluca and América stayed in the hunt for the top spot after beating Querétaro and Tijuana respectively and will no doubt make the race for the number one spot one that will be decided in the last weeks.
Tigres, Puebla, Veracruz, and Monterrey are making playoffs as of now, but the following weeks will decide these team’s fate. The only team out of this tier to come out with a victory this past week was Tigres as they handled their business and beat Pachuca 2-1. However, the rest of these teams missed out on great opportunities to create a bigger gap between them and the teams on the bubble.
Puebla managed a draw against Chivas, Veracruz embarrassingly lost 3-0 to one of the worst teams in the Liga MX in Santos, and Monterrey ended up level with Chiapas two goals a side. This gave the teams on the periphery some hope as a win for those teams could help them jump to the seventh or eighth spot, potentially knocking off one of the teams holding on to playoff positions.
Positions 9-14 are close, as just three points separate a 14th seed from jumping to a 8th or 9th seed, and teams 8-12 are only separated by goal differential. Chiapas, Chivas, Monarcas, Atlas, Querétaro, and Pachuca are the teams that are within striking distance of making la Liguilla.
Atlas were the only team to boost their chances this previous week beating fellow bubble team Monarcas by the minimum difference. With this said, no other bubble team managed a victory and only Chiapas and Chivas accomplished to squeeze out a point from their games.
Week 14 Matches:
(Teams I predict to win are in bold, predicting a draw if no teams bolded)
Veracruz vs. Toluca
Santos vs. Cruz Azul
América vs. Querétaro
Monterrey vs. Tijuana
Pachuca vs. Monarcas
Atlas vs. Chivas – This is a matchup to watch as, not only is this El Clásico Tapatio (Guadalajara derby), it is also a crucial chance for both teams to gain three points
Dorados vs. Tigres
Pumas vs. Chiapas
Puebla vs. León