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Who’s the Best Team in the Mexican Soccer League?

With the Mexican Soccer League in the middle of its summer break, I think it is a good spot to discuss and answer once and for all, which team is the best team in the Mexican Primera Division. Ok, first lets establish a time frame; I think the best team in the Mexican Soccer League should be a team that has been consistently good for the past three years. If we go any further than that, we are looking at the history of a team rather than its recent form.

Second, lets take a look at the possible teams that could qualify as being the best in the Primera Division. Alright, you always need to include the equipos grandes de Mexico (famous teams with most fans): Cruz Azul, Chivas, America, and Pumas. Then, we’ll include all teams that have won the past six Mexican championships: Monterrey (2), Toluca, Pumas (already in list), Tigres, and Santos. Finally, let’s include Pachuca, because they won the CONCACAF Champions League in the 2009-10 season.

We end up with a list of 9 teams… Way too many, let’s cut some of them out, and I’ll explain why they don’t deserve the honor of being known as the best team in the Mexican Soccer League.

First Cut – Don’t have what it takes

The first team to be removed from this list is… America! Yes, I know they have won 10 championships, but the most recent one was in 2005. They have done nothing in the past three years except appear irregularly in the playoffs. Their recent results just don’t stack up, they have to be cut from the list.

Unfortunately for Tuzo fans, Pachuca won’t win the honors of best team in Mexico. Their main accomplishment in the last three years is winning the CONCACAF Champions League in the 2009-10 season. Other than that, they have achieved nothing else, they’re out.

The next one is going to anger a lot of people out there, seeing as it’s the teams with the most fans in Mexico; yup, Chivas is not going to win the best team in Mexico award. Their only accomplishment in the past three years was to play in the Finals of the 2010 Copa Libertadores, and a couple of Liguilla appearances. I mean, you can’t be that surprised, Vergara had to bring in Dutch specialists to fix the mess that is Guadalajara.

Now the list is down to six teams: Monterrey, Toluca, Tigres, Santos, Cruz Azul and Pumas.

Second Cut – Pretty good, but just not good enough

Alright down to six teams, lets make it five… Toluca is the next one out. Toluca won the Bicentenario 2010 championship, but they’ve had a terrible run the past year and a half. Simply put, they haven’t done enough in the past three years to be considered Mexico’s best team.

Another team who is not going to win the honor of best squad in Mexico is Pumas. Pumas won the Clausura 2011 championship, and had a couple of playoff appearances. However, after restructuring to a team that would only use players from its youth squads, the team has missed two consecutive playoff appearances. Seems like they noticed playing with kids doesn’t work, and they have re-strengthened the squad with the likes of Villa and Lozano. They might get better in subsequent tournaments, but for now they don’t deserve to be called the best team in Mexico.

Tuca Ferreti’s Tigres team hasn’t done enough to be considered Mexico’s elite team. Tigres won the Apertura 2011, made it to the semifinal in the Clausura 2012, and have been consistently good under Tuca. However, they had a shameful display in the Libertadores this year, not even making it to the group stage. Overall a good team, but just not good enough.

Now the list of the final contenders is down to three teams: Cruz Azul, Monterrey, and Santos.

Final Contenders – Their accomplishments

Lets take a look at what each of the three finalists have done in the past three years.

Cruz Azul: Was a finalist in the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League, finalist in the Apertura 2009 tournament, and had the most combined points in the 2010-11 seasons. They also had a decent run in the Copa Libertadores this year, though they just barely missed out on the playoffs in the Clausura.

Monterrey: Was a finalists in this year’s Clausura tournament, they won the past two editions of the CONCACAF Champions League, had most combined points in the 2009-10 tournaments, won the Apertura 2009 championship and the Apertura 2010 championship. That’s a total of five finals played in the last three years, with four championships coming out of those appearances.

Santos: Won the Clausura 2012, had the most combined points in 2011-12 seasons, was a finalist in the Bicentenario 2010, Apertura 2010, Apertura 2011, and this years CONCACAF Champions League. That’s a total of  five finals played in the last three years, with a total of one win.

When we compare their results side to side, we can see that Monterrey and Santos are at a higher level, so we can remove the last equipo grande de Mexico, Cruz Azul, from the list of contenders for the best Mexican team. The last two teams left happen to be the same teams that disputed the last liguilla final: Monterrey and Santos. However, in the battle for the title of best soccer team in the Mexican League, there will be a different winner.

It was a tough decision to make, both teams have appeared in five finals, both have been consistently good in the Mexican league, both have done well in international tournaments, and to add to all that, they both have some terrific fans. The deciding factor has to be the fact that Monterrey has won 4 out of the 5 finals they’ve played in, and Santos has just won 1 final. True elite teams know how to close the deal and win the big games, and Vucetich’s Monterrey team has done just that. For those reasons, I proclaim Monterrey as the best team in Mexico.

If you feel I missed some key points or you want to make a case for a different team, leave a comment below.