Playoff Picture: Post-Round 11

After this weekend’s action there are 7 games left in the regular season, and the playoff picture as as wide open as it can be. No team is out of it yet but no team is secure in the top 8 either-just 6 points separate 1st from 9th and only 14 points separate the entire league. Each week now there will be a detailed look at the playoff picture the rest of the way as we work towards finding out which 8 teams will make the Clausura 2017 Gran Fiesta, along with my thoughts on their chances of going to the Fiesta. Click below for the post-Round 11 report.

Current picture after Round 11:
1-Guadalajara
Points-20
Record: 6-2-2
Home: 4-1-1
Road: 2-1-1
Remaining games: At Morelia, Puebla, at Tigres (PPD Round 10 game), at Pachuca, at Cruz Azul, Leon, at Necaxa
Outlook: Good. Not great because the schedule plays against their one weakness so far-road performance. Away from Estadio Chivas they have a winning record but a goal differential of just 1. And the Tigres & Pachuca games are during the 3-game week with the Round 10 make-up. But if they get through those in good shape they have an easy finishing lineup. There is no reason they can’t go at least 5-2. They could very well go 6-1. They just need to give up fewer goals on the road and keep Alan Pulido & Angel Zaldivar out of troublw.

2-Monterrey
Points-19
Record: 5-1-4
Home: 4-1-2
Road: 1-1-2
Remaining games: At Santos, Atlas, At America, Jaguares, At Toluca, Tigres, At Veracruz, Morelia
Outlook: Fair. They did start unbeaten and didn’t lose until week 9, but the problem was how that unbeaten streak started: Win, Tie, Tie, Tie, Tie. That’s 1-0-4, only 7 points. Since Week 5: Win, Win, Loss, Win. The America & Toluca games are key-their road goal differential could trip them up as to this point it’s -1. At home: 8. The home schedule is favorable though, but they must do better in those road games and get wins, not ties.

3-Toluca
Points-19
Record: 6-3-1
Home: 3-2
Road: 3-1-1
Remaining games: Necaxa, at Pumas, Cruz Azul, Monterrey, at Tijuana, Queretaro, at Santos
Outlook: Toss-up. Their weak point has been consistency, they started 2-0 but since are just 3-3-1 and have only scored more than 1 goal in a game once since Round 2. That 3-1 embarrassment loss at home to Puebla seems to have really hurt them. Their stretch of Round 13-16 is brutal, basically 3 of the top teams and the hottest team in the league. They need to get the offense going again or they could be in trouble.

4-Tijuana
Points-17
Record: 5-3-2
Home: 3-2-1
Road: 2-1-1
Remaining games: At Atlas, America, at Queretaro, at Jaguares, Toluca, at Tigres, Veracruz
Outlook: Good. As usual it will come down to defense-they can score goals almost at will but only 4 teams have allowed more goals. They also have a road goal differential of 1 compared to 5 at home. Good thing their 2 toughest games left are at home, but they have to not get tripped up at Queretaro & Tigres. They’re in good shape but if they don’t learn from the first half it could be another embarrassing first-round playoff exit.

5-Pachuca
Points-17
Record: 5-3-2
Home: 3-0-1
Road: 2-3-1
Remaining games: Puebla, Morelia, at Santos, Guadalajara, at Atlas, Cruz Azul, at America
Outlook: Very good. Their defense always takes them far and it’s still there even though Queretaro completely burned them this week. But there are problems-suspect offense, Hirving Lozano has done nothing since his Round 1 hat trick and is rumored to be gone after the season (overseas), and they have no road defense. They do have an easy schedule but we’ll learn a lot about them when the Chivas visit.

6-Queretaro
Points: 15
Record: 4-3-3
Home: 3-1-1
Road: 1-2-2
Remaining games: at Santos, Tijuana, Atlas, at America, Jaguares, at Toluca, Tigres
Outlook: Iffy. Their tournament has been a tale of two halves: Rounds 1-5…0-2-3, 1 goal scored. Since…4-1, 14 goals scored. And this weekend they did something hard to do against Pachuca-score. THREE GOALS. The one thing missing now is some defense-during the first 7 games they only allowed 5 goals. In the 3 games since, 7 (although they all were to Pumas & Monterrey). They have a really tough schedule the rest of the way and the only tough game they have home-field for is Tijuana. They have to somehow get 2 wins in those 3 road games and also beat Atlas & Jaguares. But if they can keep this hot streak going, look out.

7-Morelia
Points: 15
Record: 4-3-3
Home: 2-2-1
Road: 2-1-2
Remaining games: Guadalajara, at Pachuca, at Cruz Azul, Leon, at Necaxa, Pumas, at Monterrey
Outlook: Poor. Yes, they’ve all but avoided demotion thanks to beating Veracruz and they surprised Tijuana to start the second half but they have been otherwise mediocre. The problem mainly is they are tied for the 3rd-worst offense and last tournament’s co-leading goal scorer, Raul Ruidiaz, only has 4 goals so far and most if not all of those came in a 3-game scoring streak that ended this weekend. How far they can go is up to Ruidiaz, but they’ve got to also get at least ties in the next 2 games and take advantage of that very soft middle too. And hope Veracruz keeps losing.

8-Pumas
Points: 14
Record: 4-4-2
Home: 3-1-2
Road: 1-3
Remaining games: at Jaguares, at Atlas, Toluca, at Tigres, Veracruz, at Morelia, Puebla
Outlook: Toss-up. On paper they have only one tough game left (Toluca). The problem is including the Round 10 make-up game they have to go on the road for 3 of the next 4. And while they are never out when they are down as their last 3 games have proven, they have to stop falling so far behind and relying on league leading scorer Nicolas Castillo to bail them out. Those next two at Jaguares & Atlas are traps because both have been tough at home. They must start faster and not fall behind to stay in the race.

9-America
Points: 14
Record: 4-4-2
Home: 2-0-1
Road: 2-4-1
Remaining games: Monterrey, Necaxa, at Tijuana, Queretaro, at Santos, Atlas, Pachuca
Outlook: Excellent. They got off to a very bad start, having to play 4 of their first 5 on the road en route to going 2-3. Only Guadalajara has beaten them since. Another key stat: Before their win against Pumas this weekend, all 3 of their wins were shutouts. So if they can play good defense, odds are they win. And if Oribe Peralta keeps scoring they probably will win too. But losing Pablo Aguilar until this time next year (suspension) does hurt. What really works in their favor is they have 5 of their last 7 at home. And in those first 3 home games they didn’t allow a goal. Things look really good despite some tough games, moreso if they can win at Tijuana.

10-Atlas
Points: 14
Record: 4-4-2
Home: 3-1
Road; 1-3-2
Remaining games: Tijuana, Pumas, at Queretaro, Santos, Pachuca, at America, Jaguares
Outlook: Fair. They’ve been rather mediocre but have been a much better home team than road team, which makes their having 5 of their last 7 at home good. But the remaining schedule is ouch-they could very well go 0-7! And that would put them in prime position to start next year just 34 games from demotion. 3 or 4 wins and they have a chance at the playoffs, but at the very least they must beat Jaguares since the demotion race next year likely will be between those two assuming Veracruz is demoted.

11-Santos
Points: 13
Record: 2-1-7
Home: 2-0-2
Road: 0-1-5
Remaining games: Queretaro, Monterrey, Pachuca, at Atlas, America, at Jaguares, Toluca
Outlook: Poor. The record is very deceptive-they did go unbeaten the first 8 games but the pattern really hurts now: Tie, Win, Tie Win, Tie, Tie, Tie, Tie. Turn just 2 of those ties into wins and they are fighting for the lead. But as it stands now those ties will keep them out of the top 8. And they have a very tough remaiing schedule despite having only 2 road games, and winnable ones at that. I think they need to win 5 of 7 to make it, maybe 4 if they’re lucky.

12-Jaguares
Points: 13
Record: 4-5-1
Home: 3-1
Road: 1-4-1
Remaining games: Pumas, Leon, at Monterrey, Tijuana, at Queretaro, Santos, at Atlas
Outlook: Bad. While any points they get now represent an improvement over the first half and will really help in the  battle to avoid demotion next year, they have played really bad on the road and the only good team they’ve beaten so far this half is Guadalajara. The 2-0 road loss to Cruz Azul 2 weeks ago may be the finishing blow. In their next 5 games I only expect them to maybe beat Leon, but any ties or wins they can get would keep them in it. They need to look more to next year, so every point they can get now counts.

13-Tigres
Points: 13
Record: 3-4-3
Home: 1-1-2
Road: 2-1-3
Remaining games: Leon, Guadalajara, at Necaxa, Pumas, at Monterrey, Tijuana, at Queretaro
Outlook: Very bad, but it doesn’t really matter. They won the Apertura so they will defend their Grand Championship after the season no matter what, good because it’s hard to explain what has gone wrong this half. It’s mainly been offense though-they have only scored 10 goals, and all have come in just 3 games. They either score 3+ or none. And Andre-Pierre Gignac hasn’t reclaimed his postseason magic from last tournament, as he only has 2 goals this half and also lost friend & countryman Andy Delort a couple weeks ago when he was released. And they also played the last 2 without coach Ricardo Feretti, who got sacked for his comments following a crowd incident at Veracruz. They have nothing to lose so who knows what they may do.

14-Cruz Azul
Points: 10
Record: 2-4-4
Home: 2-1-3
Road: 0-3-1
Remaining games: at Veracruz, at Toluca, Morelia, at Puebla, Guadalajara, at Pachuca, at Leon
Outlook: Done. Fans of the Blue Cross have really been blue this tournament, or more red on the road. They’re at least never out of games-every one of their games has featured a combined 4 goals or less, and they’ve never scored more than or allowed more than 2 goals. They actually do have 4 really winnable games left, but it’s the other 3 that will do them in unless they can pull some upsets. They’re also creeping closer to the bottom of the ratio table.

15-Necaxa
Points: 10
Record: 2-4-4
Home: 1-2-3
Road: 1-2-1
Remaining games: at Toluca, at America, Tigres, at Veracruz, Morelia, at Puebla, Guadalajara
Outlook: Iffy. The underdog magic from the first half has disappeared as Necaxa seems to have strayed from the overly physical play that got them into the Apertura playoffs. Yes, they are getting fewer cards as a result but they don’t seem to be as aggressive either. The offense is also struggling as they have only scored 2 goals in a game 3 times and not more than 2 in a single game. The defense has been good, only allowing more than 2 goals twice. After the next 2 games the remaining schedule is favorable so if they can go on a run and win 4 of 6 and get a win against Guadalajara in the finale, they may have an outside chance.

16-Puebla
Points: 10
Record: 2-5-3
Home: 1-3-2
Road: 1-2-1
Remaining games: at Pachuca, at Veracruz, at Guadalajara, Cruz Azul, at Leon, Necaxa, at Pumas
Outlook: Poor. They actually haven’t been terrible outside of a 6-2 drubbing at Tijuana in Round 2. They beat Toluca soundly, played Monterrey tough in Round 1 and played America to a 0-0 draw. But they also have been shut out back-to-back twice including the last 2 weeks. If they can get goals on the board they have a chance, but with their remaining schedule they probably need to go 6-0-1 to have a chance, only way for sure is 7-0. That won’t happen.

17-Veracruz
Points: 9
Record: 3-7
Home: 3-1
Road: 0-6
Remaining games: Cruz Azul, Puebla, at Leon, Necaxa, at Pumas, Monterrey, at Tijuana
Outlook: Done. After week 5 they were 3-2 and right in it. They’re 0-5 since. They haven’t won since Round 5. They haven’t even scored since Round 5! That’s an average of an anemic .5 goals per game. Shame because their defense has been respectable. Next stop for them almost certainly will be demotion to Ascenso MX, even winning out might not be enough to overtake Morelia on the quotient table. And even if it was they almost definitely would start next year looking at demotion again.

18-Leon
Points: 6
Record: 1-6-3
Home: 0-4-2
Road: 1-2-1
Remaining games: at Tigres, at Jaguares, Veracruz, at Morelia, Puebla, at Guadalajara, Cruz Azul
Outlook: Done. What is going on in Leon? You expect them to be around 8th, not 18th! There really are 2 main problems-defense & Mauro Boselli. They have allowed the most goals this half at 19, nearly 2 per game. They’ve actually managed 2 shutouts but one was the popular 0-0 draw. Boselli only has 3 goals this half, rather low for the perennial top scorer…and to make it worse, he just went bonehead in the last game and took himself out of the next game for denying an obvious scoring chance. They are somehow only 8 points out and could reasonably win 6 of their last 7, but if history is any indication that would leave them just short. They have to run the table but I don’t think they’ll beat the Chivas in Round 16.

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