With the Liga MX on a scheduled break this week before the crazy week-plus ahead, the Ascenso MX season is winding down as we near the Clausura 2017 Playoffs, which will determine who faces Dorados for the Grand Championship and promotion to Liga MX for 2017-18. With that in mind, here’s a look at how things shape up with just over 3 weeks until the second half playoffs begin:
After winning the Apertura 2016 Championship and a spot in the Grand Championship, Dorados is halfway to returning to Liga MX just one year after being demoted and replaced by Necaxa. They currently lead the Clausura standings at 8-2-4, their 28 points now 2 ahead of Mineros, 7-2-5, 26 points. Cimarrones is 3rd, just 3 points back at 8-5-1, 25 points, followed by a 3-way tie for 4th between U.A. Edo. Mex, Coras FC & Alebrijes, each at 7-4-3, 24 points. A 4-way tie for 7th featuring Lobos, 6-5-3, FC Juarez, 6-5-3, Univ. de Guadalajara, 5-3-6, and Zacatepec, 6-5-3, all at 21 points, rounds out the top half. Still close in the race for the top 8 is Atlante, 5-5-4, 19 points, and both Celaya F.C. & TM Futbol Club, 5-6-3, 18 points. Hanging on to slim hopes is 14th-place Cafetaleros, 5-8-1, 16 points. 15th place Venados, 3-7-4, 13 points, has a miniscule chance to still make it. Out of the race are Murcielagos, 3-8-3, 12 points, Correcaminos, 2-8-4, 10 points, and last-place Loros, 2-10-2, 8 points. If Dorados wins the Clausura I’m assuming they automatically get promoted to the Liga MX, but if they falter that opens the door for Mineros. Watch the standings especially to see if Dorados & Lobos meet early on, that could be a high-scoring matchup. One other stat of note is that Coras has incentive to stay out of the top 4-They have an astounding 5-1-1 road mark and have even outscored Dorados on the road.
Dorados has the top offense this half with 25 goals (paced by Patricio Rubio & Jesus Angulo with 7 each), tied with Lobos for the league lead, while Mineros has the top defense having allowed only 7 goals so far. Ismael Valadez (U de G) is the league leader with 9 goals scored.
Demotion watch: Barring a last-minute miracle, it’s one-and-done for Loros, as they would be going down to the Segunda Division (Second Division). TM Futbol Club is the other team in trouble in its first season, ranking one spot ahead of Loros but they have a two-tenths of a point edge. If it came down to tiebreakers, TM Futbol has the first one (goal differential, -20 to -26) but Loros has the second one if they can pull ahead in differential (goals scored, 30-20). Head-to-head mark is even at 1-1-1, with TM Futbol then having the edge in goals 4-2. Loros has a huge edge then in away goals, 13-5, but way behind in Fair Play points, 52-115.