Week 16 came to a conclusion on Sunday with the two newest teams in La Liga MX in the top spots of the league table. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente continues as “top dogs” and Club Leon follow one point behind.
With one game day left the three spots for Copa Libertadores remain open. At this time Tijuana and Leon would get the direct pass to the group stages while Club America would get the playoff berth. As for the Apertura 2012 playoffs, there are nine teams in position for the four remaining spots. Only Xolos, Leon, America, and Toluca FC have secured their spot.
While Xolos sit atop of the league table with 31 points, Toluca, with 30 points, sits in fourth but with one less game played. CF Monterrey is in a similar situation currently in 10th with one less game.
Week 16 began with Pumas UNAM falling. Jaguares de Chiapas FC defeated them 3-0. The chiapanecos faced a demoralized squad that had no direction and easily gave up control of the pitch. The victory put Jaguares in contention after five home games at home without seeing a loss.
The more competitive game had Club Santos Laguna facing Cruz Azul. La maquina is close to entering the playoffs, but stumbled in their visit to the TSM Corona stadium. Santos is fighting for one of the last available berths for the playoffs. Due to goal differential a draw could help Cruz Azul through, but would depend on other results to secure the spot. Santos needs a win, especially if Chivas de Guadalajara also wins leaving both teams with 26 points.
Saturday began with America thrashing CF Pachuca 4-0. The victory moved America into Copa Libertadores contention. Pachuca is out of the playoffs.
Chivas managed an agonic 1-0 victory over last place Queretaro FC at La Corregidora stadium. Queretaro could be the first team to go winless since CF Indios de Ciudad Juarez took the distinction in the Apertura 2009. Chivas still need a win in the last game day if they want to secure a playoff berth. The problem is they face Club Tijuana.
The “Clasico del Norte” ended with a 1-0 in favor of Tigres UANL over city rivals Monterrey. The Rayados still have two games left and could make the playoffs, even upset teams like Santos or Chivas. They must face Toluca midweek before ending their season this weekend.
In a twist, 15th place Reales de San Luis FC held Xolos to scoreless draw at Caliente stadium. Xolos played their final game of the regular season at home keeping their undefeated home record intact. Tijuana has qualified for the playoffs and is looking to participate in the Copa Libertadores.
Sunday began with Monarcas Morelia earning a draw against Toluca at the Nemesio Diez stadium. Morelia keeps their hopes of a playoff spot alive. Toluca still has two games before the season ends.
No. 16 Puebla FC and No. 17 Atlas ended in a 2-2 draw. The point helps them increase the distance between them and Queretaro. All three teams will begin the Clausura 2013 fighting relegation.
The final game of week 16 had Leon sinking Atlante FC’s hopes of reaching the playoffs with a 3-2 result in favor of La Fiera. While Atlante has a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs it would require a major catastrophe by the rest of the eight teams looking to earn one of the four available spots. Leon is also trying to earn a Copa Libertadores spot.
The game that could make a big difference is Wednesday’s Toluca-Monterrey game. While Toluca is already in a playoff spot, a victory by Monterrey would endanger Atlante, Tigres and Pumas’ chances. However, those three teams need a combination of results to even consider reaching the playoffs. Week 17 will be interesting with five of the nine teams in contention ending their season eliminated.