Now's not the time to be dropping valuable points in Liga MX. Only four matches remain in the 2013/14 Clausura.
Cruz Azul and Toluca are the only two sides whose places in the Liguilla seem secured. After that, only five points separate third-place UNAM and 16th-place Monterrey. A club's hopes of qualifying for the playoffs could see a radical change after only one match.
Take America, for instance. The reigning Clausura winners have been inconsistent at best over the last month and a half. They've gone 2-2-5 over their last nine matches, and as a result, they're taking a slow tumble down the table.
Manager Antonio Mohamed admitted that he has no answers for his club's problems, per Goal's Tom Marshall.
"I don’t have the answer to why the team plays one game very well and one really bad," he said. "I am responsible for the results. Today everything is dark and we hope that next week everything will look rosy. It is proven that we can beat anyone if we play well, but also we can lose against anyone."
America's position isn't under threat at the moment, but if they're not careful, they'll tumble out of the top eight.
For those who are unaware of Liga MX's postseason structure, the top eight clubs in the table advance to the Liguilla, which is a standard knockout tournament, with each round played over two legs. Finishing near the top of the table is nice, but getting into the top eight is the biggest key at this point in the season.
Considering how tightly packed the table is, each match takes on an added importance. Not only is the final result important, but goal differential will likely come into play, so simply winning may not be enough.
Here's a look at where the table stands after Friday's Matchday 15 action:
Just like that, Queretaro are back in the hunt for the Clausura Liguilla. With a win over Atlas on Friday, they move into eighth place, ahead of Guadalajara on goals scored. The Gallos Blancos entered the day all the way down at 14th, illustrating how volatile the league table can be at this late juncture.
Camilo Sanvezzo's goal in the 70th minute was the difference between the two sides:
Eugene Rupinski of Brotherly Game commented that Camilo's strike was coming for Queretaro, since Atlas didn't put in a good performance:
Camilo with the goal off of a beautiful Querétaro corner kick. Los Gallos Blancos up 1-0 70'— GolazodelGringo (@GolazodelGringo) April 12, 2014
That goal was a long time coming though. Atlas has been largely listless in this match.— GolazodelGringo (@GolazodelGringo) April 12, 2014
In the 80th minute, Atlas had two great chances to level the match, but Arturo Gonzalez and Maikon Leite's shots were saved:
Vilar saving not one but two potential autogols. That about sums up Atlas.— GolazodelGringo (@GolazodelGringo) April 12, 2014
The result was a bit surprising, as Atlas have been a much better club away from home in the Clausura. This is only their second loss in seven road matches.
They drop down to 10th and leave the door open for any number of clubs to overtake them in the table.
Elsewhere, the league-leading Cruz Azul were in danger of losing only their third game of the season when they trailed Pachuca in extra time. A loss would have left the door open for Toluca to pull level in the table on Sunday, but U.S. midfielder Michael Farfan scored a late equalizer in his debut for the club.
Saturday’s action was filled with draws, and it showed just how much parity is present in the league. Second-to-last Veracruz outplayed third-place UNAM in their tilt, taking the lead off a 20th-minute strike by Alfredo Moreno.
Jose Carlos Van Rankin Galland tied it up just after half-time, and that’s how the match ended.
America earned a crucial 1-0 win over Puebla on Sunday. Miguel Layun got Las Aguilas off to a great start with a goal in the second minute.
With such an early goal, you would've expected America to build upon that momentum and add at least another goal. But Jorge Villalpando remained steadfast in goal and repelled America's best scoring opportunities.
Given how packed the table is, America might regret failing to capitalize on Layun's early goal. It would be terrible to miss out on the Liguilla because of goal differential.
Toluca kept pace with Cruz Azul to remain two points back of the leaders after a 2-1 win over Leon, who is 14th in the table and now 14 points back of the eighth spot.
Guadalajara's got a hold on eighth following a 1-1 draw with Morelia.
With time running out in the season, every point is invaluable—particularly with everybody so close together in terms of points.
Anybody can be beaten on any given day, so the battle to make the Liguilla should be a thoroughly entertaining one.