Power Rankings: Toluca keeps top spot with two weeks remaining

Power Rankings: Toluca keeps top spot with two weeks remaining
From ESPN - April 16, 2018

MEXICO CITY -- Following an unexpected letdown in the Copa MX final, Toluca rebounded in the league by defeating Morelia 1-0 on Saturday. It was their eighth consecutive victory in the competition and cemented their position as the league leaders while those below mostly faltered.

While Toluca may have failed in its bid to win silverware the first time around, they have slowly but surely made the shortlist of teams threatening to win the league a month from now.

Here are the Power Rankings for Week 15:

1. TOLUCA(no change)
For those keeping track that's 10 wins in 15 games, eight of them in a row. Toluca's latest victim, Morelia, went down to 10 men in the 34th minute after offensive leader Raul Ruidiaz picked up a red card. However, Morelia buckled down on defense and it took an Alexis Canelo strike late in the second half to tilt the balance in the Diablos' favor.

2. TIGRES UANL(no change)
A last-minute goal from Cruz Azul's Martin Cauteruccio denied Tigres all three points at the Estadio Universitario. Though Tigres squandered a chance to officially qualify for the postseason, they are almost certainly guaranteed a spot in the final eight come this May.

It's true that the 0-0 draw at the Estadio Azteca against Monterrey was disheartening for fans of the 12-time league champions, but Club America remains on track to make the playoffs in the top three of the Liga MX table. Next week's clash against Puebla should prove enough to get them officially into the liguilla.

Two losses in the last three games for Santos could spell trouble for Santos, who are fizzling at a critical time of the tournament. The 3-1 loss against Pachuca exposed a few flaws in the team's defense, especially with El Tri defender Nestor Araujo out to injury. If recent games are any indicator, the defender's absence may prove to be too much to overcome.

5. MONTERREY(no change)
Los Rayados were down to 10 men with an hour to go at the Estadio Azteca. However, Antonio Mohamed's players were tough on defense and hung on for a 0-0 draw, a result that puts them closer to the postseason. As late as a month ago, Monterrey looked down and out: now they look like a team that can go deep.

6. MORELIA(no change)
Losing Raul Ruidiaz is pretty much the worst thing that can possibly happen to Morelia. The Peru international has been integral to the team's success and a red card against Toluca severely hampered his team's offensive capabilities. As Morelia looks to secure postseason qualification, the upcoming suspension will make the team nervy with two games remaining.

7. PACHUCA(+1)
Two wins is all it took for Pachuca to get back in the top eight after a season that mostly had them in the lower part of the table. A statement win against Santos Laguna has put tentatively put Pachuca in the liguilla with just two weeks to go. Keisuke Honda is a bonafide candidate for MVP of the tournament.

Though they took care of business at home against Chivas on Friday, they will need to keep it going next week against Leon to push towards the postseason. Another win would most certainly give Diego Cocca's team a chance to play for the title.

A dominant performance from Nicolas Castillo has given Pumas new life at the proverbial business end of the season. The Chile international scored a hat-trick and proved once again why he is one of Liga MX's top attackers. With 10 goals this season, Castillo accounts for nearly half his club's tally this season.

10. NECAXA(-1)
A late goal from Roberto Alvarado clinched three points for Necaxa. Ignacio Ambriz's team has now gone five matches unbeaten and they won the Copa MX title last week to boot, the team's first domestic championship since 1998.


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