Postseason Postulations

The Liga MX Apertura season is coming to a close. One week remains to lock up positions for the always anxious, sometimes exciting, and never predictable Liguilla. With that should comes talk and speculation about the chances of each team and the failures of other. However, it would not be hyperbole to say that this season has had a bit of a stink attached.

The shadow that has hung over the Mexican national team has muddied the Liga MX waters. The piling up of losses has led to the current debacle of El Tri morphing into team Televisa. I dare not regurgitate the steps that led to this current situation because it's a nonsensical path of misery. The overall point is that the league has become an afterthought, not only in the consciousness of the media and fans, but also with owners that continue to concede players and time to an endless array of money grab friendlies.

But I'm not allowing this cloud to dampen the mood of the approaching Liguilla. It's playoff time. There are tickets to punch. There is heartbreak to be had. There's a goliath to be toppled. Let's do this thing ...

Who's already in

A whole mess of teams have already qualified for the Liguilla. America, Santos, Cruz Azul, Leon, and Toluca have all secured their places in the postseason.   

While America and Santos have the two top spots locked up, the others that have qualified still have a wide range of places they can land. With Copa Libertadores qualification on the line, this seeding carries much more than which team hosts the second leg of the quarterfinals.  

There will be plenty more written about these five teams as they are the only teams that can be seriously considered for a title run. Thus, I'm moving on to the rest of the pack.

Looking for a place

With five spots already secured, three places remain for these five teams. Which of these lucky teams will earn the right to be eliminated in the first round of the Liguilla? Let's see ...

Chiapas (25 points): 

There are plenty of unexplained phenomena including the existence of Bigfoot, UFOs, and this thing; they all boggle the mind, but not nearly as much as the current form of Jaguares.

Remember, this team is still basically San Luis playing in different uniforms. The turnaround has been dramatic. I wrote this three months ago, and I still stand by it. They looked that bad. They don’t now. Chiapas gives a fight every week no matter the level of their opponent. They’ve used a heavy youth influence to play with a high energy longer than their opposition. Are they prepared to make an impact in the Liguilla? Not really, but stranger things have happened.

To qualify: A win or a draw in Cancun with Atlante guarantees them a place. So, yeah. They're pretty much in. But if they do happen to lose, they can still get in as long as all of the following does not occur this weekend: 1) Tigres defeat Atlas 2) Queretaro defeats Pachuca 3) Morelia defeats Puebla or draws with Puebla accompanied by a multiple goal loss from Chiapas.

Morelia (24 points) 

Starting out the season, Morelia looked to be a team to be reckoned with. They were plowing through opponents. and putting forth some of the more entertaining soccer in the league. Currently, they are still pretty entertaining, just  not always so good. The Morelia defense find itself exposed all too often, and their scoring has a hard time keeping up with the leaky back line.

Then again, perhaps they use a fairly unimpressive Copa Mx title run as a confidence buoy that leads to a great Liguilla run where they have a title ripped from their hands in the final seconds by an evil monster personified by a hated rival club. Seems plausible.

To qualify: A win against Puebla guarantees them a spot. A draw will get them in, unless both Queretaro (@Pachuca) and Tigres (@Atlas) win. They can still get in with a loss if less than two of the following results occur: 1) Tijuana defeats Leon 2) Tigres defeats Atlas 3) Queretaro defeats Pachuca or Queretaro draws with Pachuca accompanied by a three goal loss from Morelia

Queretaro (23 points):

Queretaro sits in eighth place, the last Liguilla qualifying spot, which also happens to be where they finished last season. Unfortunately, last season they were relegated. This denied them the chance of participating in postseason play. Yet, here they are again. Playoffs are again on the line, and they may even be allowed to play this season. As it turns out, it can be helpful to have rich owners. Who knew?

To qualify: A win in Pachuca this weekend guarantees them a spot. A draw can still get them in, unless both Tigres (@Atlas) and Tijuana (@Leon) win. The Gallos could still qualify with a loss so long as: 1) Atlas defeats Tigres AND 2) Tijuana loses or draws with Leon.

Tigres (22 points):

It would be hard to be more disappointing than this team has been this season. Tigres were largely expected to be in the top few spots in the league and clear title contender. The fall has been dramatic. Unlike Chiapas, the reasons for this drastic shift are quite clear. Tigres have always been able to count on their lock-down defense. This is no longer a certainly with the team.  Watching their best defenders performances with El Tri leaves no mystery as to where the slip-up has come from. The fall in form of Carlos Salcido has been coming for some time, but is at a dangerous level at the moment. The recent form of Jorge Torres Nilo is more unexplainable. He was the star of the defense and now often looks more like a liability.

With that being said, the Tigres defense is still not terrible. They could post a clean sheet, but they can also give up a handful of goals ... a new reality for the team. Tigres have been known to come up small in the big games even with the impenetrable defense. Without this defense ...

To qualify: Tigres will qualify with a win over Atlas AND one of the following occurring: 1) Chiapas losing to Atlante (while making up two in goal differential) 2) Morelia losing or drawing with Puebla or 3) Queretaro losing or drawing with Pachuca. Tigres can still get in with a draw as long as both the following occur: 1) Queretaro loses to Pachuca AND 2) Tijuana draws or loses to Leon

Tijuana (21 points):

The Xolos are another team that haven't quite lived up to expectations. The physical, stifling presence of Xolos has become more of a high-energy team with the ability for the big strike. This team no longer grinds down their opposition with organized defense and physical play. Their counter attacks are still potent, but this Riascos-less version is a touch less intimidating.

I think we've all learned that it is ill-advised to count out Tijuana. But does this apply to the Xolos as a whole, or just to the Mohammed-led Xolos? Vamos a ver.  

To qualify: Tijuana will qualify with a win over Leon AND at least two of the following occurring: 1) Morelia lose to Puebla 2) Queretaro lose to or draw with Pachuca 3) Tigres lose to or draw with Atlas


** the photo is used under a Creative Commons license from gufm

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Comments

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