Power Rankings: Leon remain on top, consign 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.