On the Brink: Week 7-8

Puebla began the weekend for the fearful four with its second consecutive win. They had the low-hanging fruit of facing Monarcas in Morelia. Despite Morelia netting an early goal, Puebla plucked the said fruit with a pair of goals on each side of the halftime break. There's nothing like a relegation fight to get the most out of a team. This battle now has Puebla in rarified territory. If the Liguilla started today, Puebla would actually be participating. Craziness.

Just as Puebla put the finishing touches on their win, Veracruz was coming out for the second half of their home match with Toluca. The scoreless match appeared to be heading for a draw that would suit both sides well enough. Then Veracruz decided to pour on the pressure. The three goals the Tiburones Rojos found in the second period indicates a dominate performance. It was surely that. Veracruz set up camp in front of the Toluca goal and made Alfredo Talavera a very busy man. Veracruz continue to impress. They are getting the crucial points but also accumulating style points** along the way.

Heading in to Saturday, the pressure fell on Chivas to get a result. The difficulty of that task was clear. Heading to the Estadio Azul to face the undefeated Cruz Azul would present a tough task for most teams, let alone the struggling Chivas. Considering both teams scoring struggles and predilection to play on the conservative side, a scoreless draw seemed to be the likely result. Cruz Azul amped the pressure on Guadalajara with a first half 'Jerry' Flores goal. However, Cruz Azul decided to make it a bit easier on Chivas by being themselves. After a dominant first half, Cruz Azul took their collective foot off the gas and allowed Chivas more room to work and more possession.  Chivas twice capitalized from set pieces and locked up a huge win that could be even more important than the three points earned (if that is possible). It wasn't pretty for Chivas, but their fight was apparent in that second half. It was a big win on the road against tough competition. The mental aspect of the game should never be underestimated (I've learned and re-learned this is a Cruz Azul supporter). Chivas could use any mental edge they could garner this season.

 Three teams ... three wins. Leones Negros were already in the red flashing danger zone before this weekend's results. With every other team in this battle getting three points, UdG's home match with Tijuana was vital. The only problem, of course, being that the Xolos are much, much better than Leones Negros. Gabriel Hauche opened the scoring for Tijuana early. This turned out to be the only goal of the match. There would be no dramatic comeback for Leones Negros. They now dip dangerously low in the relegation table. One win will not save this squad now.

TABLA DE DESCENSO

15. Veracruz - 58 games played - 64 points - 1.1034 ppg

16. Chivas - 92 games played - 99 points - 1.0761 ppg

17. Puebla - 92 games played - 96 points - 1.0435 ppg

18. Leones Negros - 24 games played - 21 points - 0.8750 ppg

The Leones Negros turnaround won't be starting in Week 8. A trip to the Estadio Azteca to play America is pretty close to a guaranteed loss. Anything can happen in this league ... except this really can't.

Puebla finds itself with yet another winnable match. They will be hosting Queretaro on Saturday. This match looks like it will be Victor Vucetich's first match at the helm for the Gallos Blancos. This was a squad that appeared to need a change in direction, but the problems with the club are clearly more than simply tactical. Puebla's current form suggests they may just find their way to another three points here.

Veracruz will be tested Saturday night as they will be traveling to the Estadio Jalisco for a match with Atlas. You have to like the way Veracruz are playing lately. They remain the final undefeated team in the league. Personally, I am done doubting them. Atlas are tough, but Veracruz apparently are as well. Should be a good match ... and basically a toss-up.

No one could accuse Chivas of being particularly lucky. They head back home to Guadalajara to host the Rayados of Monterrey A few weeks ago this looked to be quite the favorable match-up for the rojiblancos. Now, Monterrey is being led by Antonio Mohamed and have some momentum behind them. This is a good match for Chivas, as they should still have scoring chances; it's just not as good as it probably should have been if the schedule had been kinder.

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* 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.

** Style points can be redeemed for assorted prizes at the Prize Center. Just 50 style points and you can have yourself a super high bounce ball or a rubber spider. One must choose wisely.   

*** Artwork is used under a Creative Commons license from Tyler Wilson

 

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