Riding a recent string of victories in all competitions, Chivas are set to take on defending champions, Pachuca, at Estadio Chivas on Sunday night. With only a few weeks in the season left, Pachuca, who currently sits second place of the table, will provide Chivas their toughest test in recent weeks. Throughout the Apertura ’16 season, Chivas have struggled against the top teams in the league, with defeats to Tijuana and Tigres, while taking care of the teams in the bottom of the league. With both teams looking to continue their winning streaks, Sunday night’s game looks to be the most attractive of the weekend.
Matias Almeyda has some tough decisions heading into Sunday night’s match. The midweek clash in the Copa MX Semifinal brings a matchup against arch-enemy Club America which, regardless of the stage is a game both clubs always want to win. Almeyda must decide if he will rest some of his starters against Pachuca, and risk losing that match, in order to have them play midweek against Club America. With both games being critical, Almeyda would be smart to play the best 11 in both matches and not risk a defeat in either game.
Another tough decision will be whether or not to insert Alan Pulido back into the starting lineup. Chivas’ biggest issue this season has been the lack of scoring from their strikers, and what happened last week? Marco Bueno and Angel Zaldivar both scored in the victory over Puebla. Part of what could be contributing to the lack of scoring from the forwards is the lack of continuity at the position and the constant changes. Since they have found some chemistry, Almeyda could go with Bueno and Zaldivar to start and not force Pulido into the lineup just because he is the big signing.
The defending champs, along with Tijuana, have been the more consistent teams in Apertura’16. Los Tuzos are currently tied with Chivas for second most wins in the league with seven and have only lost three times all season. Ironically, all three of those losses have been away. Their x-factor for this match up against Chivas will certainly be Hirving “Chucky” Lozano. Lozano, who has underwhelmed when he’s been called up to the national team, has excelled in club-play, having scored seven goals and two assists through 10 games this season. With Chivas’ left and right back looking to push up into the attacking third, Lozano will look to exploit the space left by them.
Both teams employ a very offensive minded style, and with young playmakers leading the way on each side, there is sure to be a lot of back and forth Sunday night. For Chivas, with playoffs approaching, a victory Sunday night would not only catapult them into the top three on the table, but it would make a statement that they are ready to play with the big boys.
Chivas 1-1. Pachuca – April 23, 2016 – 2016 Liga MX Clausura
Chivas visited Pachuca and drew 1-1 with goals from Gullit Peña and Rodolfo Pizarro.
Match date/time: Sunday 9pm EST, 8pm local
Venue: Estadio Chivas, Zapopan, Mexico
TV: Univision Deportes Network (US - Spanish), Univision (US-Spanish)