In one of round three's most intriguing matches, Chivas returns home this weekend hoping to break out of their current slump. Coming off a devastating 3-1 loss against Jaguares, Chivas look for their first win of the season against the undefeated Tijuana Xolos, who since hiring coach Antonio Mohamed have not lost a game.
Chivas heads into the match with a disappointing two losses, one at home against Atlante and the other against Jaguares at the always difficult Estadio Victor Manuel Reyna. Not only has Chivas lost their first two games of the season, but the team has also failed to demonstrate any of the quality futbol that fans have come to expect. The players look at times lost, and the lack of goals up front continues to build pressure on the team. And speaking of pressure, Saturday may be Fernando Quirarte's last chance to prove that he can manage this team and lead them to positive results. Speculation of Quirarte losing his job has been circulating ever since the first round 0-1 loss to Atlante. Many around the Mexican press have already begun pointing at possible candidates to take over at manager after owner Jorge Vergara inevitably loses patience -- which is safe to assume as we all know that Vergara is a man significantly lacking in the patience department.
One continuing criticism surrounding Quirarte his been his questionable lineup selections. In the last game against Jaguares, the youngster Dionicio Escalante took the starting position over the more experienced Miguel Angel Ponce. In the middle, Xavi Baez started over “Chaton” Enriquez, who in the eyes of many should be the regular starting midfielder for the team. Both of these questionable lineup decisions were defended by “El Sheriff” himself, who stated that they where strategic moves against a dangerous Jaguares attack. The strategic moves didn't exactly work out, instead leading to an unorganized Chivas defense and midfield, and ultimately a 3-1 loss to Los Chiapanecos.
Xolos come into the game still with the motivation to save themselves from relegation. The team from Tijuana has started the season with a tie away from home against Morelia (1-1) and an important win at Estadio Caliente against Monterrey (1-0) last week in front of their passionate home crowd. Coach Antonio “el Turco” Mohamed has led the team through twelve straight games without a loss, a streak which has helped Xolos to a bit of breathing room in the relegation race against Estudiantes, Queretaro, and Atlas. Tijuana has demonstrated a dangerous attack this season with Duvier Riascos and Jose Sand up front, and throughout the week Mohamed has stated that he will make few changes to his established lineup.
The last time these two sides met, Chivas traveled to Tijuana and earned three points, beating Xolos 1-0 in front of a sold out stadium. This time around, Tijuana looks significantly more dangerous and is a team hungry for revenge. Chivas will be at home, though, and hope to use the occasion to win back the confidence of their fans and the assurance of their coach.
Though Tijuana is eager for points, even just a tie will go a long way towards helping their relegation percentage. As for Chivas, anything short of a win will be devastating. Another loss will only build more pressure on the team, and could possibly send Quirarte packing. Will Chivas finally wake up this season and give the fans what they want, or will Tijuana go into Guadalajara and come back home with the points? No matter the outcome, the game promises intrigue and should be a pleasure to watch.
Chivas: Giovani Casillas, Omar Esparza
Chivas: Hector Reynoso, Jorge Enriquez
Game details: Estadio Omnilife, Chivas Guadalajara vs. Club Tijuana Xolos, 8:00 pm EST/ 5:00 pm PST on Telemundo.