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One Of These 5 Teams Will Win Clausura

Mexico’s Liga MX is a league known for its breadth. That is, rather than just a few clubs consistently taking home trophies, championships have been spread (relatively) widely across the league. As a point of comparison, 11 different Mexican clubs in the Primera Division have taken home either the Apertura or Clausura trophies (or both) in the past 10 years, compared to only 3 teams (Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea) to win the English Premier League title over the same period.

Over the years, with teams like Chivas, America, and Pumas remaining ferociously competitive, it has been tough to predict which team has the grit to finish at the top of the league. As such, the teams on this list of top contenders for the 2015 Clausura title both demonstrated consistency last season and have fought hard in the first 6 weeks of this year. It’s a bit early to tell who the strongest team in the league is, but The18 doesn’t cower from a challenge. 

To be sure, there are a few interesting inclusionson - and absences from - our list. Club Chivas is in free-fall after years atop the league, and so you won't see them here, while America has become Mexico’s most successful team after last season's championship. Meanwhile, other teams that failed to perform in Apertura 2014 are looking to show their mettle in 2015. As a result, only one team on our list finished inside the top 5 of the Apertura tourney.

After the first 6 games of the season, let’s check out the teams that have started the year off right:  

1. La Maquina, Cruz Azul: 

Cruz Azul finished a disappointing Apertura 2014 season in 13th place, having lost 6 games in the tournament. Even though they finished in the lower half of the table, they tied Veracruz in goals against with 15. This is a great feat for any team. But with all that defensive strength, they lacked finishers to balance out the club and help them win games. A team’s ability to defend can only last so long in a lengthy season and eventually goals will go in. 

This season in the Clausura, La Maquina continue to perform defensively, having only let in one goal all season. Cruz Azul has managed to win 4 games and tie two, keeping them undefeated after 6 games as they lead the league with 14 points. With players like Corona, Francisco Rodriguez, Christian Gimenez, and Gerardo Torrado, Cruz Azul has a great chance of winning the Clausura. 

The only thing keeping them from achieving that feat is if their offense betrays them and they fail to score more goals. They may be at the top of the table, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have only scored 5 goals so far in the competition. Yes, they have been scoring and winning games, but they haven’t fully demonstrated their dominance as championship hopefuls. 

Regardless, keep an eye on Cruz Azul, especially if Roque Santa Cruz comes back with a vengeance. 

2. Las Aguilas Club America

We have to include the current Apertura holders on our list. Las Aguilas are the most successful Liga MX team ever, and they showed what they are capable of in their complete manhandling of Tigres in the Apertura championship last season, winning 3-0 in the final.

Last season, they ended at 31 points, having only lost 4 matches. They had the 2nd highest number of goals scored, 1 behind Leon, and with their potency in the attack they still managed to be strong defensively, only conceding 18 goals. Their success last season shows that if a team has championship aspirations, they are going to need to be sharp both offensively and defensively. 

Sitting in 3rd place, America has the ability to go for consecutive league wins. They have 11 points and are only trailing league leaders Cruz Azul by 3. They have only lost one game so far, against Tijuana back in late January and most recently they dismantled a helpless Chiapas squad 5-0. But the defending champs haven’t had the easiest time getting back into championship form. They tied Morelia who sit in last place in the league and have less than convincing wins against Tigres and Leon. But their win against Chiapas might finally prove that the champions of Apertura are regaining form.

The only obstacles that might keep America from winning the Clausura this season are quite simple. If they fail to gel as a team and as a coaching staff they will struggle. Remember, after their 12th title win, Club America sacked their championship winning coach and brought in several new players to the club. It will be interesting to see if their victory against Chiapas finally sparks a run of form, similar to the one that saw them reach their historic feat last season.

America's fan base want another championship win. (Photo Credit: Once A Metro)

3. Atlas

The only team from Guadalajara on our list is not Chivas, but Club Atlas. One of Mexico’s representatives in the 2015 Copa Libertadores, Atlas has had an interesting run of form. They finished in 3rd place in the Apertura, qualifying for the South American Cup. In the Clausura, they currently lie in 6th place with 9 points. Los Rojinegros have proven their consistency so far across the two competitions.

Atlas have managed to lose twice so far this season, winning three games and holding to a draw once. It’s hard to say where Atlas will be at the end of the Clausura, but we think it’s safe to say that they will at least be in the top third of the table. In terms of winning the league, however, they are a dark horse. Atlas will need to challenge themselves if they  want to reach these goals and they need to be sure that their commitment to the Copa Libertadores doesn’t distract them domestically. 

Their most recent game, a loss against Pachuca, shows that Atlas's main challenge might be to maintain consistency. If they can do that, they have a squad that can compete for the championship. In their midfield ranks they have Leao, Rodrigo Millar, Medina, and Juan Pablo Rodriguez, who is one of the best midfielders in Liga MX.

Atlas will have to maintain their domestic form while also competing in the Copa Libertadores. (Photo Credit:

4. Veracruz 

Veracruz deserves a place on our list because they are one of two teams that have gone through the Clausura so far undefeated. They have managed two wins and 4 ties. Granted, it has only been 6 games, but the team deserves credit for its ability to remain undefeated and to have held league leaders Cruz Azul to a 0-0 draw last month. Even though we’ve included them on our list, Los Tiburones Rojos need a true test of their title credentials and they will get that chance to prove themselves in their next two games playing against Toluca and Atlas. Victories will quiet the doubters and prove their legitamecy. 

Veracruz are a surprise inclusion because they aren’t typically fighting tooth-and-nail for title glory against the big guns of Liga MX. Last season they finished in 17th place in the Apertura, having lost 8 games and only winning 3. Hopefully this season will see them turn their fortunes around and make a respectable title push...or at least a top five finish. 

In order for the team to turn draws into wins, Coach Carlos Reinoso will have to challenge and motivate his strikers to be hungrier in front of goal. 

Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz vs. Ronaldinhoís Queretaro. (Photo Credit:

5. Toluca 

Last but not least, Toluca makes our list of the top 5 teams most likely to win the Clausura. Toluca managed to finish in 4th place in the 2014 Apertura, only two points behind champions America. Two points keeping you from winning the Apertura is heart-breaking, but it can also be a strong motivator in 2015. 

They could very well win the Clausura. It’s in their blood. Los Diablos Rojos have won 10 Mexican Division championships and they currently sit in 7th place in the Clausura. They have scored the third most goals this season: 11 goals in 6 games. Compare this to league leaders Cruz Azul, who have only scored 5 goals all season, and you only wonder how long Toluca will remain in 7th place. 

If Toluca keep up their free-scoring form, they have a strong chance to win the Clausura. They’ll have to do better defensively, though, with a 3-2 loss to Pumas showing that you can score all you want, but at the end of the day defensive errors render goals pointless. Toluca’s Edgar Benitez will have to continue his form as he is currently leading his team in goals with 3. Benitez will only hope that his teammates clean up their act defensively. 

It’s going to be a long campaign. So sit back and get comfy, because it's going to be a wild ride to the end of the Liga MX season.

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