Week 5 of the Liga MX Apertura is in the books, and Club America continues to sit comfortably in first place with a maximum 15 points, while the surprising Atlas side remains in second two points behind.
Monterrey bounced back into the win column in Week 5 with a 3-1 win over Cruz Azul, thanks to a hat trick from Dorlan "Memin" Pabon. Pabon scored two goals in the final 17 minutes to complete his hat trick, as Monterrey ended a two-game winless streak.
Dario Benedetto scored two goals to lead Tijuana over Chiapas, while defending Apertura and Clausura champions Leon scored its second win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Pumas UNAM. Leon came from behind to win the match with two goals in the final 15 minutes of regular time.
Elsewhere, two of the most storied clubs in Liga MX had games that went down to the wire, but they were on completely different sides of the result.
America used a stoppage-time goal from Oribe Peralta in the 93rd minute to defeat Monarcas Morelia, 3-2, and remain perfect in the Apertura tournament. Chivas Guadalajara, meanwhile, dominated 60 percent of the possession against Santos Laguna before Darwin Quintero took a deflected shot from Carlos Salcido the entire length of the field to score a game-winner in the 88th minute.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Chivas, which looked like the better team throughout the duration of the match but got one step closer to falling into relegation.
With five weeks of play in the books, the Liga MX season is starting to take shape and the contenders have clearly separated themselves from the pretenders.
Here are Tres Puntos from the weekend action in Mexico:
It's time for Chivas to Panic
It was another disappointing week for Chivas Guadalajara, which is becoming an all-too-familiar story for the once-proud club.
Despite dominating the possession, creating more scoring chances and looking like the better team through the first 80-plus minutes, a mental lapse in the closing moments prevented Chivas from coming away from its home turf with at least one point. Rather than risking a red card and stopping Darwin Quintero from running the length of the pitch with the ball at his feet, the Chivas defense allowed him to run free for the game-winning goal.
Guadalajara sits in 15th place in the Liga MX table and could be undergoing changes starting at the top. Manager Carlos Bustos has done nothing to help his case after just four matches, and his job is "undoubtedly under threat."
If Chivas can not find a way to put together a competent attack and earn some points fast, its usually strong defense will not be able to save them from relegation (which is based on an average points over a three-year period, not just a last-place finish in one campaign).
America's depth gets tested
Another week, another win for Las Aguilas.
Many were interested to see how Club America would fare after shipping leading goal-scorer Raul Jimenez overseas to Atletico Madrid, but it did not miss a beat. Despite a hard-fought effort from Monarcas Morelia, Peralta came through in the clutch to keep the squad perfect and two points ahead of Atlas in the league table.
One interesting thing to watch in the coming weeks will be whether or not Las Aguilas wear down as they pick up some extra matches during the week in the CONCACAF Champions League. America has not had to deal with extra games in Copa MX throughout the week like many of its Liga MX foes, so the CCL could bring some fatigue and test the Apertura leaders' roster depth as the tournament goes on.
The first test of concurrent competitions comes this week: America will kick off its run in the CCL on Tuesday against Puerto Rican side Bayamon FC at Estadio Azteca, before resuming Apertura play on Saturday against Chiapas on the road at Estadio Víctor Manuel Reyna.
Veracruz earns a precious point
After a come-from-behind victory over Monterrey in Week 4, Tiburones Rojos were hoping to continue building momentum in their fight to avoid relegation to Ascenso MX. Unfortunately for Veracruz, it fought to a scoreless tie against Queretaro, but the good news is Tiburones Rojos picked up another vital point.
Veracruz is currently above Liga MX newcomers Leones Negros, who seem destined to head back to Ascenso MX; Puebla and Chivas Guadalajara. To add to the positive news for Veracruz, both Chivas and Leones Negros lost yet again, while Puebla was held to a draw.
Tiburones Rojos have not suffered defeat since a loss to Santos Laguna in the Apertura opener, and they have shown plenty of promise as one of the more surprising teams of the tournament.
Player of the Week: Dorlan Pabon, Monterrey
Monterrey started off the Apertura with three straight wins but seemed to hit a wall in the past two weeks with a scoreless draw against Santos Laguna and a 2-1 loss to Veracruz. Instead of panicking, though, the club got back into the win column on Saturday night thanks to a 3-1 victory over Cruz Azul that was led by Pabon.
The 26-year-old Colombian netted a hat trick on the night and became the new Liga MX leading scorer in the process, besting Jimenez's tally of four. He doesn't have to worry about the Mexico international catching him, as he is off to Spain's La Liga.
Pabon's first goal came in the 38th minute, when he beat Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jose Corona to the bottom left corner with a shot from outside of the box. After Cruz Azul tied the match up 10 minutes later, Pabon came through when it mattered the most with a 67th-minute goal assisted by Lucas Silva, which put Rayados back in front.
To cap off his impressive outing, Pabon scored from the center of the box in the 73rd minute to clinch the victory. Efrain Velarde had the assist on the fast break.
Poban has started just twice through three weeks, but his six goals and most recent performance should make him a mainstay in the starting XI moving forward.
Paul Arriola (Tijuana) - Arriola was an unused sub for Tijuana vs. Chiapas in Week 5.
Edgar Castillo (Atlas) - Castillo got the start and played all 90 minutes for Atlas. Castillo was able to push forward on multiple occasions and created a handful of scoring chances for his side, including the most vital one. In the 87th minute, Castillo drew a penalty inside of the box. Luis Caballero converted the penalty and gave Atlas a 1-0 win over Leones Negros.
Joe Corona (Tijuana) - Corona started and played the full 90 minutes for Tijuana in the club's 2-1 win over Chiapas. Corona had a quiet game, but he was a focal point in the 88th minute after being shaken up and temporarily delaying the match.
Greg Garza (Tijuana) - Garza was an unused sub for Tijuana in Week 5.
Hérculez Gómez (Tigres UANL) - Gomez was an unused sub for Tigres in their 1-1 draw against Puebla.
Michael Orozco (Puebla) - Orozco did not play as he served a red card suspension following last week's disastrous performance, which included an own goal.
José Francisco Torres (Tigres UANL) - Torres drew the start for Tigres and played for 62 minutes until he was subbed out for Damian Alvarez.
Mexico Odds and Ends
Chivas Guadalajara fans are urging the club's management to do something that will improve the team on the pitch .. Mexico moved up one spot in the FIFA Ranking, while the United States fell three places behind Costa Rica, Croatia and El Tri .. Miguel Herrera is excited for Mexico's Sept. 6 friendly against Chile at Levi's Stadium ... Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez drew the start in Manchester United's Premier League opener against Swansea City, but failed to record a shot and was subbed off at the half ... The El Tri women failed to win a match in the FIFA Women's U-20 World Cup group stage. They were in a group with Nigeria, South Korea and England.