On Tuesday evening, Jaguares have the opportunity to write a new chapter in club history. A win would guarantee the team a historic spot in the knockout round of Copa Libertadores. Currently in second place of Group 6, Jaguares could also theoretically advance without winning at all, depending on results in the group’s other match between first place Internacional and third place Emelec.
Luckily for Jaguares, they face one of the worst teams in the entire competition. Their opponents on Tuesday are Jorge Wilstermann, a team from Bolivia that doesn't even play in the country's top division. Wilstermann won the 2010 spring season in Bolivia's top division to qualify for Copa Libertadores, but then had a disastrous winter season and ended up relegated.
Even playing on the road in Cochabamba, Bolivia, you would think that Jaguares would have little trouble with a team like Jorge Wilstermann. Normally that may be the case, but the club from Chiapas certainly haven’t made things easy on themselves. Still worried about relegation in the Mexican Primera, Jaguares management decided to focus attention on the domestic league this weekend, at the expense of Tuesday's Copa Libertadores match. Even though this proved unnecessary, as Necaxa ended up relegated over the weekend, Jaguares management had already decided to send a largely second-string squad to Bolivia. Not only that, Jaguares head coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz will not even be making the trip. While he stays behind in Mexico, the team will play under the direction of assistant coach Jose Luis Gonzalez China.
A limited Jaguares roster of only fourteen players, mostly second-stringers, arrived in Bolivia early Monday morning. Other than regular starting goalkeeper Jorge Villalpando, it is a team with extremely limited experience. There are few regular starters on the traveling roster, and the question that has to asked is this: Where will the scoring come from? With no Damian Manso, no Christian Valdez, no Jorge Daniel Hernandez, and no Antonio Salazar, the team will be hard-pressed to find a go-to scorer on Tuesday. Jaguares are already a low scoring team as is, but without any of their big name players on offense, things can only get worse. Jorge Wilstermann may have nothing left to play for except pride, but with a limited roster, a win for Jaguares, hell even a tie, may be a tough task for the inexperienced group making the trek to Bolivia.
Will Jaguares do enough to secure advancement to the Copa Libertadores knockout round? Find out by tuning in to Fox Deportes on Tuesday at 7pm est.