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Should Cruz Azul be named champs if season ends this way?

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La Maquina are league leaders up to this point, but history suggests that is not enough.

America v Cruz Azul - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

As we are amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and not really knowing if the Liga MX Clausura 2020 season will have a chance to be completed or to even resume at this point, one can’t help but bring up the question: Who would be crowned champion if it ended this way?

Probably the most common answer to this question right now is Cruz Azul, them being in first place and all, and having displayed the best soccer so far from any other team, even after their rocky start to the season, having lost their first two games. But since their Week 4 tie at Toluca which would’ve been a victory if not for Leo Fernandez’s 94th minute goal to knot things up at 3-3, La Maquina are winners of 6 straight league matches, including wins against Tigres and at America. Their victories have come as everything but luck, as they have shown great adaptability with their newcomers for this season, such as defender Luis Romo, and not to mention the revelation of youngster Santiago Gimenez (Chaco Gimenez’s son), who have both played vital roles so far in Cruz Azul’s success.

FBL-MEX-AMERICA-CRUZ AZUL Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

But would that really be a good solution? Just hand the trophy over to Siboldi’s team after having played barely a little more than half of the season? And with this, end just over 22 years of a title drought that has gone on for way more than it should’ve and has turned into a nightmare for fans? For some reason, there are fans and even announcers that seem to think so.

Unfortunately for those fans, the reality of the situation is that most of the time, the one seed in Liga MX does not go on to be crowned champs. In fact, in the last 5 years (10 seasons) alone, not a single No. 1 seed has won the title, despite a few of them reaching the final. One of those was Cruz Azul actually, when they led the Apertura 2018 for most of the season, but in the end lost the final to America.

And we don’t even need to go further than a few months ago; specifically, December. The current champs, Rayados de Monterrey, made the playoffs on the final day of the season as the 8th and final seed. They went on to crush 1st seeded Santos in the quarter finals, and the rest was history. So, the mere fact of finishing No. 1is in no way an indication for who will be the ultimate winner.

What would be the appropriate solution if this drags on for the next 2-3 months or beyond? To put it in simple terms, leave the title vacated. No one team has done nearly enough or is even close to be deserving of a championship, and that is the way it must be left. Unlike in the Premier League for instance, where 1st seeded Liverpool leads 2nd seeded Manchester City by 25 points with about 9-10 games to go in the season. Even though it isn’t finished mathematically, Liverpool’s dominance is just no match for anyone in this final stretch. There is one example of an acceptable case to name a champion in an unfinished season.

So, the vacated titles is indeed the fairest solution based on historical evidence, but we never know what the Liga MX will ultimately end up deciding if we are unable to resume play soon. They have made many uncalled-for decisions in the past, and again, you don’t have to go further than last season to find one (the entire Veracruz saga). Let’s hope that they can make a good call on this one.