In a game which showcased two teams with their Liguilla spots already clinched, the results of Friday evening's clash between Chivas and Santos would have many implications for how the teams would seed going into the playoffs. A 2-1 victory earlier in the evening by Morelia over Veracruz had enabled Monarcas to leap frog, for the time being, into the 3rd place spot with 28 points and forced both teams to look for the victory.
Chivas came out as the more offensive side, controlling possession and being the aggressor but spent most of the first half being unsuccessful in their attempts to strike first. Although they were able to string a few plays together off of some very well executed give and go and through balls, Chivas attacking front seemed to lack a bit of creativity and looked stifled by their opponent. Santos sat back and applied a very organized, defensive strategy which did not allow Chivas much space once they crossed into their territory. Offensively, Santos did not offer much and seemed to be content with going into halftime with the draw.
Although the second half started out much like the first half, in the 54th minute, Chivas is awarded a penalty kick after a Carlos Cisneros shot from just outside the top of the box hits Santos' Carlos Izquierdóz' arm in an attempt to block the shot. For the third week in a row, Carlos Peña stepped up to take a penalty. This time luck would not be on his side. He took a very poor shot that was blocked, but he was able to redeem himself as the ball bounced off the goalkeeper into his path. He put home the rebound netting his 7th goal of the season with Chivas. The goal forced Santos to open up and look for an equalizer, but their attack never really seemed to trouble Chivas' goalkeeper, recent national team snub, Rodolfo Cota. The one goal lead would be enough for the Chivas victory, and they were able to come away with three points and close out the season with a streak of 7 games without a loss.
One negative take away from the game, for Chivas, is the injury to Orbelin Pineda who was subbed off at half time for Michael Perez. The full extent of the injury is still not known, but he would be a major loss to the team if he is not able to return in time for the Liguilla.
An area where the team could look to improve heading into the Liguilla, is the consistency in the final third of the pitch. The team squandered many opportunities versus Santos, and they will surely want to take advantage of all the scoring chances they have in the next stage.
Chivas are entering the Liguilla as the hottest team in the league with a record of 7-1-1 over the last 9 games, and for the time being, they are in 3rd place tied with arch-rival Club America at 28 points. There are still many games left in the weekend, and Chivas will depend on those results to seed in the top 4. If Almeyda and his herd continue to play the way they have closed out the season, they are ready to leave their mark on the Clausura 16 Liguilla.