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Power Rankings: Leon remain on top, consign Veracruz to relegation

Jose Macias celebrates during Leon's Liga MX win over Veracruz.
Leon remained atop Liga MX Power Rankings, consigning Veracruz to relegation.

It's official: Veracruz is relegated from Liga MX following a winless Clausura start in which the side has gone 11 games without a three-pointer. Even with reports claiming that Los Tiburones can stay afloat in the top division with a cash payment, there is plenty of uncertainty regarding the status of the team for the 2019-20 season.

This week, to give Veracruz fans some modicum of hope, we'll be taking a look at how many times each team in Liga MX has dropped to the second division and how they've managed to crawl back to the top.

Previous rankings: Week 10 Week 9 Week 8 | Week 7 Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2

1. LEON 

Times relegated: Two. The Clausura 2019 league leaders are the blueprint of how to come back successfully from relegation. After winning the promotion final in 2012 under Gustavo Matosas, Leon roared back into the first division and won back-to-back Liga MX titles in the Apertura 2013 and the Clausura 2014. Firmly entrenched in the top division, the team looks to contend for its eighth title after a blistering regular season.

2. TIGRES UANL

Times relegated: One. Since spending a year in purgatory following their 1996 relegation, Tigres have come to be a leading force in Liga MX thanks to strong economic backing and a solid, long-term sporting project with coach Ricardo Ferretti and striker Andre-Pierre Gignac at the helm. This season, with 26 points and four wins in its past five matches, the team is the odds-on favorite to lift a fifth title since coming back in 1997.

3. CLUB AMERICA 

Times relegated: Zero. One of two teams (along with Chivas) to spend every single Liga MX season without going down into the second division. Months after winning its 13th league title, Miguel Herrera's team is still alive in its quest for the domestic double after downing Chivas twice in one week, pushing it into the top four of the league standings and into the Copa MX semifinals.

4. NECAXA 

Times relegated: Two. Five years in the Ascenso MX was the longest period in which Necaxa was without first-division football since returning from its Atletico Espanol rebrand in the early 1980s. After coming back in 2016, Necaxa is putting together its best season since then, buoyed by two wins in its past three matches, including an impressive comeback victory over Santos Laguna on Sunday in Torreon.

5. CRUZ AZUL

Times relegated: Zero. Since rising to the then-Primera Division in 1964, Cruz Azul has become a popular team with Liga MX fans due mostly to its success in the 1970s, when it racked up six of its eight league titles. Since 1981, however, the club has won just once, including a brutal procession of losses in playoff finals: It has amassed 11 second-place finishes in its history, most in the league. This season, the side has recovered after a rough start, winning its past three in succession.

6. MONTERREY 

Times relegated: One. Los Rayados have suffered relegation only once, back in 1957. It took them three years to return, but since then, they've been a fixture of Liga MX, and only now do they seem to be on the brink of their golden age. After 11 games this season, Monterrey has dropped its first game of the Clausura, a 1-0 loss to Xolos in Tijuana.

7. CLUB TIJUANA 

Times relegated: Zero. Since their founding in 2007, it took Xolos just four years to rise to the first division. One year later, they won their only Liga MX title under coach Antonio Mohamed. Since then, the team has fallen mostly into mediocrity, a trend coach Oscar Pareja is slowly reversing in his first season at the helm. After 11 games, the Colombian has Tijuana in playoff position.

8. PUEBLA 

Times relegated: Two. Los Camoteros dropped into the second division twice in six years: 1999 and 2005. The first time, the team avoided relegation by buying its way back into the league; the second time, the current manager, Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, gained promotion in 2007. With Sanchez taking over the team in midseason, he has the current iteration of the team one point off the playoff pace.

9. TOLUCA 

Times relegated: Zero. Proudly, the 10-time league champions have never suffered the drop from Liga MX. Through a managerial change in the Clausura 2019, they've rebounded after a horrid start to the tournament, with Ricardo La Volpe undefeated in the league since coming back into the fold.

10. PACHUCA 

Times relegated: Three. Los Tuzos suffered through relegation in 1973, 1993 and 1997. After returning in 1998, Pachuca won six league titles between 1999 and 2016 and rose to international prominence with five CONCACAF Champions League titles and a Copa Sudamericana. This season, under manager Martin Palermo, they've found their way back into the Liguilla race, sitting in eighth entering the international break.

11. SANTOS LAGUNA

Times relegated: Zero. In the midst of a CONCACAF Champions League run, Santos Laguna has dropped out of the Liga MX race somewhat, with a 2-1 loss at home against Necaxa a humbling blow last weekend. Although Santos has never been relegated, it bought its way into the first division in 1988 following the purchase of Angeles de Puebla.

12. CHIVAS 

Times relegated: Zero. Along with America, Guadalajara is king of Liga MX in several respects, including the lofty claim of having played in every single season of the league's history. Next season, Guadalajara will be in the midst of a relegation race, thanks to its struggles. Off the back of two straight losses against Club America, Chivas enters the business end of the tournament with dwindling playoff chances.

13. LOBOS BUAP

Times relegated: One. Following its unlikely promotion in 2017, the Puebla side employed another unusual tactic to retain its status following the drop the next year: pay a fine. Ascenso MX winner Tapachula was not cleared to play in the top division, and so Lobos paid their way back into the fold for the 2018-19 season.

14. MORELIA 

Times relegated: One. Following its return to Liga MX in 1981, Morelia has been a steady presence in the middle of Mexico's first-division table. This season, the club has been closer to the bottom of the table than the top, firing longtime manager Roberto Hernandez in favor of Javier Torrente.

15. PUMAS UNAM 

Times relegated: Zero. Since their promotion in 1962, Los Universitarios have never gone down, gaining a rabid fan base and several titles in the process. This season, they've amassed a disappointing two wins in 11 games, good for 14th place in the league table.

16. ATLAS 

Times relegated: Three. Since coming back from its third and most recent relegation in 1978, Atlas has linked four decades of mostly uninspiring soccer in Guadalajara. This season is no different, turning a promising start into the league's longest active losing streak.

17. QUERETARO 

Times relegated: Three. Los Gallos lived on in 2013 despite a third relegation in which they bought Jaguares de Chiapas and moved the team to Queretaro. Since then, the team has notably signed Ronaldinho and won the Copa MX but has also seen some pretty dismal results this season, culminating in the firing of Rafa Puente Jr. as head coach.

18. VERACRUZ

Times relegated: Five. Los Tiburones have tied Zacatepec as the team with the most relegations in Liga MX history. Whether they play on in the Apertura 2019 depends on the interpretation of the rules and potentially a non-sanctioned Ascenso MX team winning promotion. In the meantime, it's sad times for fans of the team.

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