With Club America’s 100 year anniversary looming over the match, Chivas went into Estadio Azteca and put a damper on the celebration. Goals from Isaac “Conejito” Brizuela and Carlos “Gullit” Peña helped Chivas defeat their arch nemesis 3-0. From the onset of the game, Chivas established their dominance, and had it not been for some big intervention from Moises Muñoz, this game could have easily ended five or even 6-0. This result isn’t just big for the rivalry of these teams, but it is also a display of how these teams are currently trending. Chivas finds themselves hitting their stride having accumulated seven of nine possible points in their last three matches, while America is winless in their last three.
Here are my three takeaways from the match:
1) Consistency has been the key
Matias Almeyda seems to have his club heading in the right direction. Last night’s match was a perfect example of what the Argentine can have this club do. The biggest reason for the club's recent success has been Almeyda’s use of the same line up for the last couple weeks. Part of what we saw early on in the season was the Argentine trying to find the correct line up. New additions plus players leaving for the Olympics really influenced the squad's play. With the return of the Olympic players a few weeks back, Almeyda has finally found a set starting lineup, especially from the midfield up. The consistency in the lineup has helped build the players' familiarity with each other which in return has been a key to the club's current success.
2) Javier Eduardo “La Chofis” Lopez
The 22 year old is coming into his own after making a splash last season. He was given the number 10 jersey. Many in the Mexican media thought it was too much pressure too soon for a 22 year old. Yet, La Chofis has risen to the occasion. While he does not have the goals from last season, he has earned the trust of Matias Almeyda and is racking up the assists. Last night, in front of the Mexican National Team coach, Juan Carlos Ososrio, who recently snubbed him over Gullit, La Chofis set up Conejito Brizuela for the first two goals. When the spotlight was most bright, La Chofis was everywhere on the field creating opportunities for his team--a feat we are sure to see more of.
3) Clasico, telling of where these clubs currently are…
One of the most glaring issues that stood out from the Clasico was how ineffective Club America was offensively. Now, it is understood that their main striker, Oribe Peralta, was out due to injury, but a club like America should not have to rely so heavily on a 32-year-old forward. On the other hand, Chivas was impeccable throughout all phases of play.
One of the biggest concerns heading into the match was how would they cope with the loss of Carlos Salcedo versus a Club America team that is very effective counter-attacking. Chivas was able to neutralize America in every aspect by not allowing their midfielders or forwards much space when they tried to attack. This is certainly an example of where these teams currently are: Chivas seems to be trending up, while Club America seems to have hit a rough patch. The season is still relatively young and nobody expects America to miss the Liguilla, but after a 3-0 loss to their rival, Nacho Ambriz will need to right the ship quickly if he wants to keep his job.