With goals from Orbelin Pineda late in the first half and Omar Bravo in the 92nd minute, Chivas defeated Veracruz 2-0 to win the 2016 edition of the SuperCopa MX. The victory is not only the second trophy won in the Almeyda Era, but it also guarantees Chivas will be in a qualifying playoff for a spot in the upcoming Copa Libertadores.
From the onset of the match, Chivas was the aggressor pushing the ball up and pressing Veracruz' backline. However, it wasn't until right before halftime when Orbelin Orbelin took measures into his own hands (or feet), and after evading two defenders and an exchange with Angel Zaldivar, he knocked in a loose ball to give Chivas the lead heading into the break.
The second half saw Veracruz come out looking to even up the score but were denied all game thanks to another strong performance from Rodolfo Cota. In the 92nd minute, Eduardo "La Chofis" Lopez found Omar Bravo alone in front of the net, and the Chivas Legend sealed the victory. The win is a great first step into a very promising next couple of months for El Rebaño.
Here are my 3 takeaways from the match:
1) Orbelin Pineda
It's clear to see why Chivas and Matias Almeyda were reluctant to give up Orbelin Pineda to the U-23 national team, which will be playing in the Olympics later this summer. He is a special talent, and when he is on the field for Chivas, he is the best player on the pitch. On Sunday evening, he was not only setting plays up with great passes, he was also taking on defenders and creating space and plays for himself.
In the first half, he had two or three dangerous opportunities where he took on and got by two to three defenders. What's more, right before the half, he was able to finish off one of those plays by putting the team ahead. If Chivas is to have success this upcoming season, they will need consistent play from Orbelin Pineda like the one we saw on Sunday evening.
Sunday evening, there was as much talent on the bench for Chivas as there was in the starting lineup. Matias Almeyda had the luxury of leaving Gallito Vasquez, Nestor Calderon, Marco Bueno, Omar Bravo, and Eduardo "Chofis" Lopez all on the bench at the start of the game. Any one of the aforementioned players could have been a starter. Yet, Almeyda decided differently, and it worked out. No longer does Almeyda have to look at his bench and have no options. When he made substitutions, the team didn't skip a beat and actually seemed more dangerous. "Chofis" Lopez and Omar Bravo both came on in the second half and were a part of the second goal, with Chofis creating space and finding Bravo wide open in front of the net. Again, this is definitely one of the deeper rosters Chivas has fielded in recent years, and it comes at a good time. With the upcoming possibility of playing Copa Libertadores, giving up four players to U-23 national team for the Olympics, and the league starting, Matias Almeyda will need all this depth.
3) Matias Almeyda
The Argentine coach has been extremely impactful since his arrival in 2015. Under his management, the team has won the Copa MX, the SuperCopa MX, and the team is out of the relegation zone and back to Copa Libertadores. He not only has the team winning again, but they are playing an attractive, aggressive style of soccer that has not been seen in Chivas in some time. He is doing it with a relatively young roster. He has also instilled a level of competition in the roster, where no player is untouchable in his position, which in turn has helped field the best rosters available. I
n this upcoming season, part of what will be so important for Almeyda and Chivas will be the consistency of having the majority of players return from last season. This will also allow the new additions' transition into his system rather quickly. If Almeyda continues his competitive coaching style and tactics with Chivas' new reinforced roster, the final half of 2016 promises to be a successful one for the Argentine Shepard.