Playoff Picture: Post-Round 12

After this weekend’s action there are 6 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 13 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 12:
1-Toluca
Points-22
Record: 7-3-1
Home: 4-2
Road: 3-1-1
Remaining games: at Pumas, Cruz Azul, Monterrey, at Tijuana, Queretaro, at Santos
Outlook: Decent. They’ve gotten back on track the last 2 games, both wins. Their stretch of Round 13-16 is brutal, basically 3 of the top teams but Queretaro may be cooling off a little bit now, which bodes well for them. But the finale at Santos could be a trap-despite their 7 ties and only 3 wins Santos has only lost once this half.

2-Guadalajara
Points-21
Record: 6-2-3
Home: 4-1-1
Road: 2-1-2
Remaining games: Puebla, at Tigres, 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. I predicted they should go 5-2 over their last 7, maybe 6-1, but that stretch starting with a 0-0 tie at Morelia is pause for concern. Remember 4 of their last 6 now are on the road.

3-Monterrey
Points-19
Record: 5-2-4
Home: 4-0-2
Road: 1-2-2
Remaining games: Atlas, 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: 4-2. The home schedule is favorable though, but they must do better in those road games and get wins, not ties. The road loss at America this weekend is a bad start to the stretch run.

4-Tijuana
Points-18
Record: 5-3-3
Home: 3-2-1
Road: 2-1-2
Remaining games: America, at Queretaro, at Jaguares, Toluca, at Tigres, Veracruz
Outlook: Toss-up. They blew 2 points on the road in their tie at Atlas, again their defense failed them. Also losing coach Miguel Herrera until Round 16 to suspensions won’t help either. They’re either going to outscore everyone or implode.

5-Pachuca
Points-18
Record: 5-3-3
Home: 3-0-1
Road: 2-3-1
Remaining games: Morelia, at Santos, Guadalajara, at Atlas, Cruz Azul, at America
Outlook: Good. Their defense always takes them far and it’s still there. But there are problems-suspect offense, Hirving Lozano has done nothing since his Round 1 hat trick (and missed a penalty kick attempt this weekend, maybe costing them a win vs. Puebla, they played to a 0-0 tie) 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. The opening-stretch tie against Puebla was not good.

6-Pumas
Points: 17
Record: 5-4-2
Home: 3-1-2
Road: 2-3
Remaining games: at Atlas, Toluca, at Tigres, Veracruz, at Morelia, Puebla
Outlook: Toss-up. On paper they have only one tough game left (Toluca). Their shutout win at Jaguares, which came without leading scorer Nicolas Castillo, was big. It snapped their comeback streak but that’s a good thing. Now their remaining road schedule is much more manageable and they can easily go 5-1, or at worst 4-2 depending on which Tigres shows up for the Clasico Universitario.

7-America
Points: 17
Record: 5-4-2
Home: 3-0-1
Road: 2-4-1
Remaining games: 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:4 of their 5 wins have been shutouts. So if they can play good defense, odds are they win. And in their last win, they shutout Monterrey and Oribe Peralta scored, the two keys. They have now won 3 of their last 4 and are unbeaten in that stretch. They’ve gotten back to their old selves at the right time.

8-Santos
Points: 16
Record: 3-1-7
Home: 3-0-2
Road: 0-1-5
Remaining games: Monterrey, Pachuca, at Atlas, America, at Jaguares, Toluca
Outlook: Fair. While beating Queretaro at home this weekend helps, they still have a tough finishing stretch although the 4 tough games they have left are all at home. If they can win 3 of the last 6, or get a total of 9 points the rest of the way I think they sneak in. But they can’t get tripped up in those 2 road games.

9-Morelia
Points: 16
Record: 4-3-4
Home: 2-2-2
Road: 2-1-2
Remaining games: at Pachuca, at Cruz Azul, Leon, at Necaxa, Pumas, at Monterrey
Outlook: Iffy. 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, Managing a tie against Guadalajara was good but Veracruz won to gain ground in the demotion race-they are now just 2 points apart in the standings so the margin for error is gone.

10-Queretaro
Points: 15
Record: 4-4-3
Home: 3-1-1
Road: 1-3-2
Remaining games: Atlas, Tijuana, at America, Jaguares, at Toluca, Tigres
Outlook: Toss-up. The key for them is they have 4 of 6 left at home, important because given they have to go to America & Toluca they probably will need to win all 4 home games left to get in. 3 of the 4 are very winnable, the question mark is Tijuana. If they won at least 3 of the 5 or got at least 9 total points going into the Tigres game, they have a chance. Otherwise their horrendous start will have done them in.

11-Atlas
Points: 15
Record: 4-4-3
Home: 3-1-1
Road; 1-3-2
Remaining games: Pumas, at Queretaro, Santos, Pachuca, at America, Jaguares
Outlook: Poor. Managing a tie against Tijuana this past week helps but they still have maybe the toughest stretch run. Basically, see Queretaro above.

12-Jaguares
Points: 13
Record: 4-6-1
Home: 3-2
Road: 1-4-1
Remaining games: 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: 3-5-3
Home: 1-2-2
Road: 2-1-3
Remaining games: Guadalajara, at Necaxa, Pumas, at Monterrey, Tijuana, at Queretaro
Outlook: Done, but it doesn’t 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. I give up on trying to figure them out this half.

14-Veracruz
Points: 12
Record: 3-7
Home: 4-1
Road: 0-6
Remaining games: Puebla, at Leon, Necaxa, at Pumas, Monterrey, at Tijuana
Outlook: Done. While they finally snapped their 6-game skid and gained a little ground on Morelia in the demotion race, and they now have 3 winnable games in a row, those last 3 will be too much to overcome, moreso given they still are winless on the road. They’re playing to avoid demotion.

15-Cruz Azul
Points: 10
Record: 2-5-4
Home: 2-1-3
Road: 0-4-1
Remaining games:  at Toluca, Morelia, at Puebla, Guadalajara, at Pachuca, at Leon
Outlook: Done. They just lost at Veracruz. That is all. They are not going to win at least 5 of their last 6. Maybe 2. Maybe.

16-Puebla
Points: 10
Record: 2-5-4
Home: 1-3-2
Road: 1-2-2
Remaining games: at Veracruz, at Guadalajara, Cruz Azul, at Leon, Necaxa, at Pumas
Outlook: Done. Managing a tie and a point at Pachuca was acceptable, but now they really have to go 6-0. Nope.

17-Necaxa
Points: 10
Record: 2-5-4
Home: 1-2-3
Road: 1-3-1
Remaining games: at America, Tigres, at Veracruz, Morelia, at Puebla, Guadalajara
Outlook: Done. 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. If they keep losing they have an outside chance at demotion.

18-Leon
Points: 9
Record: 2-6-3
Home: 0-4-2
Road: 2-2-1
Remaining games: at Jaguares, Veracruz, at Morelia, Puebla, at Guadalajara, Cruz Azul
Outlook: Done. I said they have to run the table to have a chance and they won the first one, but they are/were so far back already that I still don’t think it will be enough. This half could come back to haunt them in a year or two.

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