1) Atlas peaking at the right moment.
Last week I spoke about how Atlas was like a scavenger in the league, taking advantage of other team’s downfalls to climb up the league table. Atlas are now officially inside the Liguilla with one game to go in the season, and they look like they are playing some of their best futbol this campaign.
On Friday, Tomas Boy’s men took care of a declining Xolos de Tijuana with a 2-1 win at the Estadio Caliente. With Aldo Leao Ramirez and Juan Carlos Medina running the show in the midfield, the Guadalajara-side showed why they are unbeaten in their last six league games. Moreover, Atlas showed why they are one of the teams to keep an eye out for.
2) Chivas defeat to Tigres just a small mishap for the Rebaño Sagrado.
On Saturday, Chivas faced arguably one of the best Liga MX teams in the past year. But despite their 2-1 defeat to Tigres, Chivas are unlikely to miss out of the Liguilla for another year. Jose Manuel de la Torre’s men sit fourth in the table with 26 points and it would take some unusual results for the Rebaño Sagrado to miss out.
Chivas have looked like a side that has struck the right balance in the past, and they should have just enough to be one of the candidates ready to make a long run inside the Liguilla.
3) Questions about America’s fitness levels brushed aside with win.
Prior to America’s 3-1 win over Toluca, there were questions about the fitness levels inside America’s locker room. America had just won the CONCACAF Champions League title a few days before, and America manager, Gustavo Matosas, had made mention of fatigue inside his team.
However, America played one of their better performances at the Estadio Azteca under Matosas and eased their way into victory. Most encouraging for Las Aguilas was their play on the counter. Matosas’ side always looked likely to score on the break, and Sambueza’s absence was minimized.
America is another team likely to be in the Liguilla, and it will be interesting to see just how far the champions will go.
4) Another disappointing Pumas UNAM season.
Barring something like a 7-0 victory against Monterrey and a combination of miraculous results, Pumas UNAM will fail to reach the Liguilla this Clausura. Pumas weren’t a particularly bad side but looked shorthanded throughout the campaign. Their 1-0 defeat to Cruz Azul on Sunday emphasizes the need to address several positions within the squad.
While Alfredo Saldivar has played well in his debut season, having a great goalkeeper is a must if you want to challenge for bigger things. He looked faulty in Roque Santa Cruz’s goal, and Alejandro Palacios is hardly a better alternative.
Furthermore, talent gaps also exist in the fullback positions and in the midfield. If Pumas fail to focus on improving these positions during the summer, one of the so-called “big four” will continue to be a disappointment.
5) There is still a lot to play for in the last week.
With Liguilla places up for grabs and the relegation battle nearing an end, this week’s results set up nicely what will be the conclusion of the 2015 Clausura regular season. In particular, Cruz Azul vs. Leones Negros and Santos vs. Puebla highlight two encounters with teams with contrasting objectives.
To make things easier to explain in the relegation battle, anything other than a Leones Negros win and a Puebla defeat means Leones Negros get relegated.
On the other hand, Cruz Azul and Santos are just two teams out of ten looking for the last five Liguilla spots.