The time we have all been waiting for is here again. The start of a fresh, brand new season in Mexico's first division is here, as this weekend marks the start of the Apertura 2011. From the first nine games disputed this first week, one of the games that stands out is between Atlante and Chivas de Guadalajara. Both teams will start their participation in the Apertura 2011 with hope to begin with a positive result.
These two teams have given us entertaining games in past seasons, and we hope this season is no exception. The last time these two teams faced each other in the first week of the season was in the Clausura 2005; the game ended up in a 1-1 tie. A season before that, Chivas destroyed Atlante 7-0 in Guadalajara.
Atlante is coming off of an exceptional season in the Clausura 2011, in which the team reached the quarterfinals of Liguilla, where they fell short against Cruz Azul. The "Potros," led by the charismatic coach Miguel Herrera, will try to surpass last year's performance and be a strong candidate for the title this season.
Atlante had two important players leave the team in the offseason, Fernando Navarro and el "Chicharo" Gonzalez. Both were key pieces in Miguel Herrera's team, but with the arrivals of Osvaldo Martinez, Juan Cuevas, Matias Cordoba, and Nicolas Torres, Herrera will try to fill those spots and form a great squad. In addition to the new arrivals, Atlante counts with players like Francisco Fonseca, Giancarlo Maldonado and the always talented Christian "Hobbit" Bermudez. Atlante comes from a 3-3 tie against their younger sub-20 squad in pre-season competition, before that beating Venados de Merida (1a division) 2-0 in preparations for their first match vs Guadalajara.
Chivas on the other hand comes into this game with a couple of disappointing results in pre-season. Looking back at all their pre-season games, Chivas failed to win one game, ending their pre-season preparation with a 3-0 loss against Real Madrid in San Diego, California. Chivas steps into this season with very little change from the last tournament. The only acquisitions Chivas made in the offseason where players that returned from loan spells elsewhere. Chivas president, Jorge Vergara, has refused to buy any new players for the team, giving all his confidence to the younger players emerging from the youth squad. Adding to this team are the young emerging talents of Giovani Casillas, Carlos Fierro, Jose Tostado and Luis Solorio, all champions with Mexico's sub-17 team. Don't be surprised to see one of these kids come off the bench on Saturday to make their debut with the first team.
A devastating strike that this limited Chivas team will have to deal with, is the absence of five of their players that are out on international duty. Promising star, Erick "Cubo" Torres is out with Mexico's sub-20 team, as well as Jorge Enriquez, Ulises Davila, Kristian Alvarez, and Jose Antonio Rodriguez. Their captain Hector Reynoso is also out due to suspension, but possibly might be out longer since he came out in the game vs Real Madrid due to injury.
Chivas coach Jose Luis real continues to support the idea to play with a younger squad, and coming off an average pre-season it is now time to see what Chivas can do. Atlante on the other hand looks strong, and is still riding the momentum of last season. The last five games between the teams at Estadio Quintana Roo have been an advantage to Atlante, as they have won three and drawn two. Chivas looks to make their sixth visit to Cancun in the last six tournaments a win.
Atlante vs Chivas looks like attractive game, and a promising match. Ladies and gentleman, Mexican futbol is back!