Santos has come as if from nowhere in the last three years to win the Mexican Big Six in a covid-shortened 2019-20 campaign.
We offer three cheers for Santos Laguna, which has turned up a neat feat in the first three years of our internal pyramid for the top level of Mexican professional soccer.
Santos has won, consecutively, the Little Six, the Middle Six and now, in 2019-20, the Big Six. Admittedly, the latest season was shortened because of covid, which cut it off in March. We decided here to just live with the results that were in.
Each team plays 10 games in its division, ideally, and here we had everybody playing seven or eight. It was enough for the standings to take on some kind of shape. If everybody had played four or five games, that would only tell us half of the story or less. But here we have only two games left for most teams, and the teams that are ahead are pretty likely to stay ahead in that short margin. It's going to deserve an asterisk historically, but acts of God are like that.
It did end close in the First Division. Santos had 14 points, with UANL and América only three behind. One game that was not played was América at Santos, but Santos won the game in Mexico City, 2-1.
Two years ago, 2017-18, Monterrey was an impenetrable force, racking up seven wins and three draws in 10 Big Six games and allowing only five goals in the process. In 2019-20, short season aside, Monterrey lost five of its eight games and will be relegated, along with Big Six cellar-dwelling Toluca, which showed few signs of life.
The halted season certainly worked well for Tijuana and Pachuca, which both are headed back to the Big Six after finishing in the Middle Six top two when the music stopped.
A little heartburn here. Tijuana and Pachuca each got nine of their games in, landing on 16 and 15 standings points, respectively. The third-place team, Morelia, finished at 13 points, but played only seven games. And one of the games that was not played was Pachuca at Morelia. This actually tells us less than an American sports fan is given to expect, because it turns out that road wins and draws are both about as likely as home wins in the MX. In fact, Morelia won the game at Pachuca, 2-1.
Anyway, tough break for Morelia. They're staying in the Middle Six, along with another surprising team, Cruz Azul. The big, blue cement mixer was on a down cycle when we began this pyramid, so the first season was Little Six, but Azul got itself promoted immediately Now, though, Cruz Azul has failed in two attempts to move into the Big Six, finishing fourth in the middle section for two consecutive years.
Pumas UNAM and Puebla are the clear teams to demote here. UNAM has yo-yoed annually between the Middle Six and the Little Six, now going back to the Little Six. In 2017-18, the first year we ran this, Puebla was our Wooden Spoon team, the last-place team in the Little Six. The next season, Puebla won the Little Six. But after seven games and one win in the Middle Six, La Franja is headed back to the basement.
We do get some clarity in the Little Six, where there is no question about the best teams through eight games. Champion Guadalajara rang up six wins and a draw, with it's average result being a 2-1 win. Second-place Necaxa wasn't just a game better than third-place Atlético San Luis, but also eight notches better in goal differential.