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Liga MX Apertura Possible Playoff Scenarios

The final week of the 2016 Apertura is upon us.  While Tijuana, Pachuca, Tigres, Chivas, and América have had their tickets punched to the liguilla, there are still 3 spots up for grabs.  And, heading into the final weekend of the season there are 5 teams hoping to make it into the playoffs.

Because there are so many scenarios out there, and goal differential will almost certainly come into play when determining who is in and who is out, the possible outcomes can be very difficult to calculate.  Fortunately, the Liga MX website has a handy simulador that allows you to test out any possible scenario you can think of.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the ways that each of the remaining teams could potentially make it to the liguilla:

Necaxa are the highest placed team that hasn’t locked up a spot already.  A win against Chivas in their final match secures passage to the liguilla, and even a draw more or less gets them in, unless León manage to win by 8 against Cruz Azul, and Toluca and Pumas also emerge victorious from their games.

If Los Rayos lose, they could miss out provided at least 3 of the 4 teams below them (Pumas, Toluca, León, Monterrey) win on the final day.

Pumas are also currently in a playoff spot.  A win on Sunday vs Puebla means automatic qualification to the liguilla.

If they draw with Puebla, they will need some help to remain in their playoff place.  If 2 of the 3 teams below them (Toluca, Monterrey, and León) win, they will be out.  However, even if all of that happens, it is possible that Pumas could stay in if Necaxa lose by at least 3 goals.

A loss for Pumas would likely doom them.  In this scenario, if either León or Monterrey win, UNAM would require Toluca to lose in order to cling to their final spot.  If León and Monterrey both win, Pumas are out.

Toluca currently occupy the final playoff position.  Thus, if they win, they are in.

If they tie in Jornada 17, a win from either Monterrey or León eliminates them, unless Pumas also lose, in which case they are safe.  If Monterrey and León both win Toluca are out.

If Toluca lose on the final day of the season, the scenario is mostly the same, the only difference being that Pumas would need to lose by at least 3 in order for Toluca to qualify.

León are currently in 9th place, so they will need a team in front of them to falter in order to have any chance at the liguilla.

If León win, and any of the three teams mentioned above lose or draw, they are guaranteed a spot.  The only way León can win and still miss out is if Toluca, Pumas, and Necaxa all win.

If León draw, they need Monterrey to lose or draw, and either Pumas or Toluca to lose by five or four goals respectively.  A draw essentially means elimination.

A loss automatically eliminates León, regardless of other results.

Monterrey have the least points of all teams still in the hunt.

If Rayados win, they have a chance to make the playoffs, but they would need at least of any two of León, Pumas or Toluca to lose or draw.  Rayados have a high goal differential, and that may help them sneak into the final spot.

If Monterrey draw or lose, they are immediately eliminated regardless of other results.

That sums up the possible scenarios for the five remaining teams, so if you are a fan of any of the teams above, you know what your team needs to do.  If you are a neutral fan in this playoff race, you at least know which games to watch.  Enjoy the final week of the Apertura, and remember, Liguilla time is almost upon us.  Jornada 17 will be played on November 18-20, following this week’s international break.