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Liga MX Playoff Permutations: Who’s In?

Only one week of play remains in the 2017 Clausura.  Six teams have locked in playoff spots, while two remain up for grabs.  There are numerous ways the last week can play out, but today we’re going to make use of the Liga MX playoff machine to determine how each team can qualify for the liguilla.  So without further ado, let’s jump into it:

Locks (6): Tijuana, Monterrey, Atlas, Chivas, Toluca, Santos Laguna

These six teams have already secured a place in the liguilla, though the seeding is still up in the air.

In the Hunt (8): América, Tigres, Morelia, Pachuca, Veracruz, León, Necaxa, Querétaro

These teams are all contending for just two remaining spots, with América and Tigres currently in the drivers seat.

América: Can clinch a liguilla place with a win or draw against Pachuca.  If they lose, Las Aguilas are still in decent shape.  A loss by 2 goals or more would put them behind Pachuca, but even then they could still get in if Tigres and Morelia fail to win.  Veracruz’ goal differential (-5 compared to América’s +1) probably puts them out of striking range of América, but they could technically also pass Las Aguilas with a huge win.

Tigres: Can clinch their spot with a win against Querétaro.  If they draw, things get dicey, as they can easily be passed by Morelia, Veracruz, or Pachuca.  With a loss, they will almost certainly be passed by either Morelia, Veracruz, Pachuca, León, or even Necaxa.

Morelia: Morelia don’t have the goal differential required to beat Tigres on a tiebreaker, which means they have to win to have any chance of making the playoffs.  If they do win, they would need either América to lose or Tigres to falter, and then they would make it through to the liguilla.

Pachuca: Pachuca need a win over América, as well as a fair bit of help in order to sneak into the playoffs.  If they win by 2 or more goals, they would pass América, but regardless they will need Tigres and/or Morelia to drop points.  Technically Veracruz could pass them if they could make up a lot of goal differential on Los Tuzos, but seeing that Veracruz are traveling to Estadio Caliente it’s safe to say that won’t happen.

Veracruz: Los Tiburones have the same amount of points as Pachuca and Morelia, but sit way back in terms of goal differential.  They’ll need a a win, and Tigres, Pachuca, and Morelia to all drop points.  Alternatively, if they win by a massive margin, they would only need Tigres to drop points as they could pass Pachuca and Morelia on goal difference.  Again, this requires Veracruz to win by 5+ goals at Tijuana, so needless to say it’s an unlikely scenario.

León: León can only sneak into the 8th spot if they win, Tigres lose, and Morelia, Pachuca, and Veracruz all lose or draw.  A Tigres draw and León win would put them equal at 23 points, but Tigres are way too far ahead on goal differential for León to catch them.

Necaxa: Necaxa’s situation is essentially the same as León’s, only they have a worse goal differential and thus need León to drop points as well.  Thus, they need a Tigres loss, and a draw or loss from Morelia, Pachuca, Veracruz, and León.

Querétaro: Querétaro aren’t mathematically eliminated, but thanks to their miserable goal differential (they are 12 goals behind Tigres) they would need to beat Tigres 6-0, and would require a lot of help in the form of Necaxa, León, Veracruz, Pachuca, and Morelia all drawing or losing.

Out of Contention (4): Cruz Azul, Pumas, Chiapas, Puebla

These four are mathematically eliminated already, and are playing only for their relegation coefficients during Jornada 17.