Date: Saturday, February 18
Time: 7:06 PM Pacific, 9:06 PM Central, 10:06 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Chivas, Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico
Television: Univision (US-Spanish), Univision Deportes Network (US-Spanish)
Following a 2-1 Victory over crosstown rival Atlas, Chivas are now set to take on their fiercest nemesis, Club America, in the 2017 Clausura edition of the Clasico Nacional. The match comes at a point in the season where both clubs seem to be trending in opposite directions. Chivas are currently sitting fourth on the table and have continued playing an attractive brand of futbol under Matias Almeyda. Club America, on the other hand, still seems to be hungover from their 2016 Apertura final loss and the team has been struggling to earn positive results.
That said, everything you think you know heading into this match about these teams, throw it out the window, it DOES NOT MATTER because Clasicos are different and the teams play them at a different intensity.
For all Matias Almeyda has been able to accomplish during his time at Chivas, that has been eclipsed by the elimination at the hands of Club America in the last two seasons. Surely, this sits in the back of the mind of the Argentinian manager, but this Chivas team is a bit different than last season’s team. The pairing of Rodolfo Pizarro and Orbelin Pineda has made Chivas’ attack a lot more fluid and dynamic. Eduardo “La Chofis” Lopez has finally been given the starting role and his chemistry with Jesus “Chapo” Sanchez on the right flank continues to get better and better week by week.
Still, while Chivas has no problem attacking, they are still plagued by the same issue that has weighed the team down throughout the Almeyda era— an inability to score and put away attacking plays. Last week against Atlas, Chivas spent the majority of the match attacking and they were only able to put away one opportunity that was eventually disallowed, only scoring because of a penalty and a goalkeeping howler. This, of course, is cause for concern heading into the Clasico. Matias Almeyda must get his team to capitalize off their scoring opportunities because America has shown to be a strong counter-attacking team over the last two Liguillas.
The good news for the rojiblancos is Club America don’t arrive in the best of forms. For everything Ricardo La Volpe accomplished last season, he is currently on the brink of losing his job. Club America has struggled this season and sit 14th in the league table with just seven points.
Neeedless to say, however, last season in the Liguilla La Volpe completely outcoached Almeyda, allowing Chivas to control possession while playing stout defensively and counter-attacking. While this team is relatively inferior to last seasons, La Volpe will look to employ similar tactics to defeat Chivas.
With all the implications that the result could bring for either team, many of the following questions will be answered once the final whistle is blown. Will Ricardo La Volpe be fired (again) if he loses another Clasico? Will Almeyda finally be able to Defeat La Volpe and America in Guadalajara? Can I get Tom Marshall to go out drinking with me after the game?
With America needing a win and Chivas looking to climb up the table while burying their archrival, this Clasico will surely live up to the hype.
Depending on the outcome of Club America’s match against rivals Chivas, Ricardo La Volpe may or may not remain as coach of las Aguilas in the Clausura 2017. Having tied with last-place Puebla last week, America has just seven points in six matches.
Prior to his hiring, America gave the axe to Nacho Ambriz after the former head coach had a better start than La Volpe. In the first six matches last season, Ambriz led America to 11 points. A 3-0 defeat to Chivas sealed Ambriz’s fate. Given the historic rivalry between the two teams, La Volpe depends on Saturday’s game at Estadio Chivas to dispel the troubles the team seems to have.
Over the last six games, America’s offense has failed score at the rate expected of a team with Oribe Peralta, Silvio Romero, and Darwin Quintero. Among their roster, only Peralta and newcomer Cecilo Dominguez have more than one goal at two each. In his first three league matches, Dominguez has scored the winning goal in two matches, but unfortunately, won’t play in el Clasico. Following a 1-0 win against Coras FC in Copa MX play, Dominguez exited the match with a shoulder injury.
On the defensive side, America has shown improvement since losing 4-2 to Tigres. In four matches, las Aguilas have conceded just two goals, all of which came against Chiapas. Part of America’s recent defensive success comes from Agustin Marchesin, who joined the team after Moises Muñoz’s transfer to Chiapas. Though Marchesin began the season conceding six goals in two games, his form has changed since, even blocking a penalty against Coras during midweek action.
Despite the pedestrian start to the season, nothing but a win over Chivas can soothe the criticism La Volpe faces. The lack of trust in the head coach amongst fans showed itself after chants wanting him out could be heard from the team’s terraces. Winning a Clasico matters for both teams every season, but for La Volpe, it could define his future.