Just when we thought we had things figured out, Round 13 comes along and flips everything on its head. The bottom five teams in the league standings coming into the weekend -- Atlas, Tijuana, America, Puebla, and Morelia -- all came away with victories. The previous week's darlings Tigres were shutout in a loss to Morelia, while the Primera's three cellar dwellers -- Atlas, Tijuana, and America (4 total wins between them through 12 rounds) -- won their games by an astounding 10-3 margin. This is life in the Mexican Primera. With just 4 rounds left, the top 12 teams in the standings are separated by a mere 6 points. How did we get here? Let's take a look back at the best of a wild Round 13 weekend in Mexico.
Club Tijuana 3-2 Pachuca
The best game of the weekend saw Tijuana win their first match at home this season, an intense 3-2 victory over Pachuca celebrated at Estadio Caliente. The match didn't start on a great note for Xolos, though. Tijuana gave up an own goal at the 21st minute, but that would be Pachuca's last lead of the game. In a span of five minutes Tijuana mounted a remarkable comeback, and by the 48th minute the home team was on top 2-1. In the second half both teams attempted to put their strategies on the table and take control of the game. Elias Hernandez brought Pachuca back even in the 62nd minute with a great volley. But just six minutes later, Juan Pablo Santiago's second goal of the day put the Xolos up 3-2 and gave the home crowd in Tijuana their first taste of home victory this season.
Marco Fabian De La Mora (Chivas)
It was a difficult decision to choose the best player this week. Several players such as "Cubo" Torres, Oribe Peralta, Juan Pablo Santiago, and Jahir Alejandro Barraza turned in great individual performances, scoring multiple goals for their respective teams. But one player that stood out was Marco Fabian, with his great performance against Estudiantes. Fabian led the way for Chivas, scoring three goals in their 5-2 win over Estudiantes. This was the first "hat-trick" for Fabian, and his sixth goal of the season. Though his performance was exceptional, it has been slightly outshined by his childish celebration along with Alberto Medina. The duo's unfortunate goal celebration has made national and international headlines. Though his celebration was nothing to brag about, Fabian's individual performance was a classic.
Monterrey 0-3 America and Pumas 1-4 Atlas
Even though the Tijuana win over Pachuca was a surprise to many -- especially to the home fans in Tijuana --nothing beats the surprise wins from both America and Atlas. While Monterrey has indeed been through a difficult stretch over the past few games, their performance at home this weekend was a shock to say the least. Not only did America go into Estadio Technologico and win, but they won with an emphatic 3-0 scoreline against "Los regios". Meanwhile, Atlas, the league's last place team, walks away from CU with three points after beating the defending champions. With great performances from Alejandro Barraza, Ricardo Bocanegra, and Daniel Arreola, Atlas beat a strong Pumas team who have now suddenly conceded eight goals in two weeks.
Team on the Rise
This section should be called "Team that Continues to Rise" since no team has shown better team chemistry on the field than Santos Laguna in recent weeks. Saturday's victory over Toluca marks their fifth consecutive win with Benjamin Galindo on the bench. In the coming weeks Santos will lose the leading scorer of the tournament, though, as Oribe Peralta joins the Sub-22 Mexican National team for the Panamericanos. Even with his departure, Santos still has plenty of talent left to maintain the hot streak. With great performances from Carlos Darwin Quintero, Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Oswaldo Sanchez, and others, Santos has suddenly become the team to beat as we move towards the close of the regular season.
Antonio Naelson Sinha (Santos 3-2 Toluca)
With plenty of goals to choose from this week, it was a difficult decision. Though the "golazo" by Arreola for Atlas was one of the favorites from the weekend, nothing compares to the technique shown by Toluca veteran Naelson Sinha. With an astounding bit of individual skill, Sinha takes on the entire Santos defense to score a magnificent goal. (Sinha’s goal is the first shown in the clip below.)
Top 5 Teams Following Round 13
1. Santos Laguna – 23 points
2. Cruz Azul – 22 points
3. Chivas – 22 points
4. Tigres UANL – 21 points
5. Jaguares – 20 points
Bottom 5 Teams
14. Toluca – 16 points
15. Estudiantes – 15 points
16. Club America – 14 points
17. Club Tijuana – 12 points
18. Atlas – 10 points
Top 5 Goalscorers of the Season
1. Oribe Peralta – 9 goals (Santos Laguna)
2. Carlos Bueno – 8 goals (Queretaro)
3. Christian Benitez – 7 goals (Club America)
4. Luis Gabriel Rey – 7 goals (Jaguares)
5. Ivan Alonso – 7 goals (Toluca)