Ten weeks have come and gone in the 2014 Apertura, and there are now just two months remaining for teams to position themselves near the top of the Liga MX table to qualify for the eight-team Liguilla. On Matchday 10, a handful of teams made positive strides in their move up the league standings, while others continued to disappoint.
Veracruz and Tijuana opened the action on Friday night, with Daniel Villalva scoring the lone goal of the match to give Tiburones Rojos the 1-0 win over Tijuana, despite playing the final 20 minutes a man down after a Cristian Borja red card. Queretaro and Toluca played to a 1-1 draw on the same night, after Queretaro's Camilo Sanvezzo, who is tied with Dorlan Pabon as the Liga MX leading goal scorer, converted a penalty for the equalizer in the 45th minute.
Both teams currently sit in the top eight - Toluca in fourth and Queretaro in sixth.
To finish off the first night of Week 10, Miguel Layun put on a masterful four-goal performance to lead first-place Club America to a 4-1 win over Santos Laguna.
Tigres, who now sit in fifth-place, earned a big 3-2 win over Pachuca after Juninho converted a penalty in the 71st minute. While Juninho scored the game-winner, it was Joffre Guerron who scored one of the best goals of the weekend.
Cruz Azul defeated Leon, 1-0, thanks to a 27th minute goal from Mariano Pavone. Monterrey was able to sneak by Atlas, 2-1, in a matchup of two top three teams. Lucas Silva scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the 26th minute, while American Edgar Castillo did his best to spark an Atlas comeback with a late goal in the 84th minute, only for Los Rojinegros fell short.
In a battle of the bottom two teams in Liga MX, Moreli beat Leones Negros, 2-1, and put the Liga MX newcomers one step closer to relegation.
On Sunday, the week wrapped up with two draws. Pumas and Chiapas de Jaguares tied 2-2 thanks to a wild comeback from Jaguares. Isaac Diaz scored in the 80th minute to draw Jaguares within one, before Julio Nava scored in the 89th minute on a free kick to complete the comeback and allow Jaguares to come away from Estadio Olimpico Universitario with a point.
In the final match, Chivas Guadalajara struggled to score again in a 0-0 draw with Puebla. While the match was short on goals, there were three red cards. Nestor Vidrio and Israel Castro were sent off for Chivas, and American Michael Orozco was sent off for La Franja.
Here are Tres Puntos from the latest league action in Mexico:
Cruz Azul Takes Big Step Forward
Cruz Azul's disappointing start to the Apertura had the club sitting in 14th place entering Week 10, but it jumped three spots to 11th with a 1-0 win over reigning Clausura and Apertura champions Leon.
La Maquina now sits just two points away from the top eight, which is where they need to be in order to reach their fifth consecutive Liguilla.
Cruz Azul's game-winner came from Mariano Pavone, who scored his first goal of the Apertura tournament. The win over Leon also extended Cruz Azul's 13-year winning streak against La Fiera at home.
Chivas Continues To Be In Disarray; New Coach Coming?
Chivas went another week with failing to score a goal. In five of its last six matches, Guadalajara has failed to find the back of the net. Only Leones Negros (4) have scored fewer goals in the Apertura.
Not only did Sunday's match continue to show off the struggles that Chivas has finishing, it was amplified with a missed penalty by Angel Reyna in the 51st minute.
To make matters worse for Chivas, two players - Nestor Vidrio and Israel Castro - were sent off in the second half and manager Carlos Bustos seems to be on his way out.
In fact, there have been reports that Spain's Pepe Mel is in negotiations to become the next Chivas coach. The reports from Spanish news outlets say that Mel is set to travel to Mexico to advance the negotiations.
However, Mel responded to the reports by saying, "[I'm] a little surprised, I'm in Spain watching games."
Regardless of whether Mel becomes the next Chivas manager, it is clear that Bustos is on very thin ice.
The next two league matches for Chivas come against Toluca and Atlas, who are both in the top five of the league table, so things could only continue to get worse for the storied club.
Liga MX Thinks Pink For 'Mes Rosa'
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - or "Mes Rosa" (Pink Month) - and the NFL is not the only sports league that will be prominently featuring pink on the playing surface. Prior to kickoff of Week 10, Voit, the official ball of Liga MX, unveiled its new pink pinstriped ball that will be used during the month of October.
Along with the ball, captains will take the field with pink armbands, nets will be dyed pink and players will have pink ribbons on their jerseys.
This year, however, there is a little twist.
As you notice with the ball, there are also blue stripes. That is because Liga MX will also be running a campaign to support prostate cancer awareness. Opposing captains will wear the different colored armbands - one pink, one blue -- throughout the month of October.
The referees will also take part in the campaigns, with their uniforms being pink and blue.
Player of the Week: Miguel Layun, Club America
Layun put together a flawless effort on Friday night against Club Santos as he scored all four goals for Las Aguilas in the week's most anticipated matchup.
Layun started his scoring outburst in the 41st minute when he tapped the ball into the back of the net from the center of the box following deflection on a corner kick. In the 54th minute, Layun added his second with a shot from well outside of the box, after Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez misplayed the clearance.
Just six minutes later, Layun completed his hat trick and extended the America lead to 3-0. Michael Arroyo made a brilliant run down the left side and managed to keep the ball from crossing over the end line, before finding Layun standing in the center of the box for the easy goal.
Santos scored a goal in the 70th minute, but Layun finished off the game with his fourth seal the 4-1 result and cement the club's place atop the table. Layun now has six goals in the Apertura, which places him second behind Monterrey's Dorlan Pabon and Queretaro's Camilo Sanvezzo, who have seven goals a piece.
Paul Arriola (Tijuana) - Arriola entered the 1-0 loss to Veracruz in the 53rd minute. With Xolos trailing, Arriola created an opportunity for Alfredo Moreno on the right side of the box but the shot was saved and Tijuana ultimately fell short..
Edgar Castillo (Atlas) - Castillo got the start for Los Rojinegros in their 2-1 loss to Monterrey. Atlas dominated possession in the game and Castillo gave his side a chance to draw even with his first goal in an Atlas kit. In the 84th minute, Castillo ripped a shot from outside of the box to give Atlas hope, but time ran out before it could score an equalizer.
Joe Corona (Tijuana) - Corona earned another start for Xolos and was subbed off in the 75th minute. In the 41st, Corona had an opportunity in the center of the box, but he was unable to convert.
Greg Garza (Tijuana) - The American left back got the start and went all 90 minutes.
Hérculez Gómez (Tigres UANL) - For the first time with Tigres, Gomez got the call to start and he played the first half before being subbed off in favor of Emanuel Villa in Tigres' 3-2 win over Pachuca. Gomez had an early shot on goal that was blocked and he found the back of the net just before half with a header, but it was ultimately disallowed after the linesman signaled offside.
Michael Orozco (Puebla) - Orozco started and played until being sent off in the 73rd minute. Orozco drew a yellow card in the 50th minute after a hard foul and his second foul came in the 73rd when he was shown the red.
José Francisco Torres (Tigres UANL) - Torres drew the start for Tigres and went the full 90 minutes. The 26-year-old had a solid outing with no major missteps.
Mexico Odds and Ends
For "Throwback Thursday," a great photo of Mexico manager Miguel Herrera and goalkeeper Felix Fernandez surfaced from their playing days with Atlante ... Real Madrid fans are hoping to see Chicharito more involved ... Chicharito has been called on by Herrera to play in two October friendlies for El Tri. Mexico will host Honduras and Panama on home soil ... Chivas USA's Erick "Cubo" Torres also got the call after an impressive debut earlier this month. Cubo is the only MLS player to get the call for the international team ... Brothers Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos got to play together against Real Madrid over the weekend ... In a tragic incident, two Mexican soccer players were killed after a gunman open fired on a local team's bus.