Chivas’ valiant effort wasn’t enough to save them from a 2-1 loss to 10-man Pachuca at the Estadio Chivas on Sunday night for the fourteenth match date of the 2016 Apertura.
The showdown was poised to showcase some of the best young Mexican talent in the Liga MX and lived up to the billing. With both teams comfortably in contention for Liguilla appearances, the match was a proper test of mettle for Matías Almeyda and company.
El Rebaño worked industriously throughout the game as they produced opportunity after opportunity, but had more difficulty finishing in front of goal more than anything. Isaác Brizuela had room to attack on the flank and almost made good on several occasions. Even as provider, Brizuela’s 70th minute cross nearly put Chivas in front again were it not for a Raúl López miracle tackle prying it from an oncoming Carlos Cisneros.
Ángel Zaldívar and Marco Bueno also had their chances, but were either stifled by Pachuca’s defense or misfired. Zaldívar forced a few saves while Bueno’s highlight was an 80th minute shot that rattled off the near post after using brute strength to win a ball from a Pachuca defender.
Chivas’ defense left quite a bit to be desired in Sunday night’s performance. Hedgardo Marín pitched in with his side’s only goal and showed he can read play well when making interceptions on a few occasions. Carlos Salcido, however, did not look fit throughout the game and also looked a step too slow against Pachuca’s attack. This was most evident when he nearly surrendered a penalty to Hirving Lozano in the 64th minute and on the game-winning play for Pachuca—where a trio of Chivas defenders and Rodolfo Cota couldn’t prevent the individual brilliance of Pachuca’s Jonathan Urretaviscaya.
Edwin Hernández left the game with a potential injury but displayed excellent hustle and pinpoint distribution with the exception of a near-fatal first half error. Javier “Chofis” López and Carlos “Gullit” Peña flashed potential of creating a scoring play late, but their collective indecision in the final part of the pitch is what doomed Almeyda’s side as a whole.
With a Wednesday night Copa MX semifinal match against bitter rivals America and Saturday night league action at home against Cruz Azul, Chivas will have a full plate in the following week.
Rodolfo Cota: 6
Hedgardo Marín: 7
Carlos Salcido: 3.5
Edwin Hernández: 7
Jesús Sánchez: 5.5
Orbelín Pineda: 6
Ángel Zaldívar: 6.5
Carlos Cisneros: 6
Isaác Brizuela: 7.5
Michael Pérez: 6
Marco Bueno: 6.5
Carlos Peña: 6
Nestor Calderón: 6
Javier López: 6.5