On the Brink: Week 5-6

Generally speaking, sports are not the easiest to predict. Low-scoring sports like soccer are even more volatile. One errant pass or one stunning shot could catapult a lowly team over a juggernaut. The Mexican variety of soccer tends to be exceptionally erratic in an already unpredictable sport. Between the penchant of Liga MX officials to use the red card and the widespread talent pool results have the tendency to equate to a lottery. The cream does generally rise to the top but not always in the most expeditious manner.

Despite the wild tendencies of this league, occasionally matches hold to form. This was the case this weekend for the flotsam four. No ... despite what you may think about the capabilities and tenacity of Leones Negros and Puebla, they were not able to beat tough opposition on the road. Chivas was not able to magically get points in Torreon. Veracruz was not able to get a win they probably should have over a struggling Queretaro.

These teams are on the bottom for a reason. They have retooled and strengthened but are going to face stiff competition each week because they just aren't that good.

For the time being, I will be splitting this foursome into two groups. The red and orange danger level groups. In accordance with the relegation table and the play on the field, I'm putting Veracruz and Chivas in the orange threat level group. If we've learned anything over the past few years, it is that Chivas are not to be trusted. There is too much talent in the roster to be at the bottom of this list at the end of the season. But they're Chivas. They are an embodiment of their owner, Jorge Vergara. Hence, they could come crashing down in a flaming pile of dung at any moment. Still, they are just better than these other three teams; orange it is. Veracruz is also getting the orange treatment. Their play hasn't been pretty, and they've been on the lucky end of a few crucial referee decisions already.  It's also worth pointing out again that their percentage can drop dramatically with a few poor results. They aren't safe; they just look much safer than the two in the red threat level group. Veracruz is still undefeated. They are playing with all of the fight you look for from a team facing the guillotine.

In the screaming red danger level, Puebla and Leones Negros find themselves in all kinds of trouble. Leones Negros are in much better position than Puebla. They can score (unlike Puebla) and can jump out of the bottom rung with one good result. I still don't trust this team at all. Their most pronounced characteristics are speed and flair. This is not what I'm looking for in a team facing relegation. If I'm looking for an enjoyable watch - maybe. I think they are in some serious trouble and would be the leading contender to go down if not for Puebla. La Franja are playing the least inspiring football of any of these four. They sit five points below Chivas and don't possess the percentage flexibility of Leones Negros. They are playing cautiously to not concede and still conceding. I can't imagine them making up the five points on Chivas without an epic collapse from the rojiblancos (not ruling it out). They can quickly find themselves in the position of needing to be bailed out by one of the newbies; Puebla may not be able to dig themselves out without someone lending a hand.


15. Veracruz - 56 games played - 60 points - 1.0714 ppg

16. Chivas - 90 games played - 95 points - 1.0556 ppg

17. Puebla - 90 games played - 90 points - 1.0000 ppg

18. Leones Negros - 22 games played - 21 points - 0.9545 ppg

Despite all of the doom and gloom, this coming week offers up some great chances for points for each of the fearful four. It will be interesting to see which teams capitalize on these chances.

Puebla will be hosting Monterrey on Saturday. If you've watched Rayados play at all this season, you see the chance Puebla has in this one. Monterrey is totally disjointed at the moment. They could still beat Puebla, but they might just continue their poor run of form.  The safe bet here is a scoreless draw.

Leones Negros will be visiting Leon on Saturday night. This is another one that looks bad on paper, but may not be that lopsided in reality. Leon are hit and miss. They can be clicking and knock in three plus goals in this one or miss the target with shocking regularity. Leon could also cough up a few goals without blinking. Leones Negros should probably lose this one, but the upset is attainable in this one. Again, I just don't trust them. For me, Leon 3-1.

We have another head-to-head battle this week. Chivas will be hosting Veracruz on Sunday afternoon in an orange threat level showdown. This is a match where pragmatism will likely prevail. There is unlikely to be much risk-taking. However, one goal from either side could open this one wide. I could see this going either way, but I have a feeling a shock result might be coming in this one. I think Veracruz gets a sneaky win here, 0-1.



* Relegation in Liga MX is determined based on the lowest points per game for the past three years or six seasons including the present. Veracruz and Leones Negros are recently promoted and haven't been in the league for three years. Hence, they have played fewer matches and their points per game number fluctuates more than that of Puebla or Chivas.

*** Artwork is used under a Creative Commons license from Neerav Bhatt




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