Pumas return to league action after having their worst defeat of the season and needing to get points immediately to right their flailing ship. They, however, will face a tough challenge in Tuxtla Gutierrez, a place that has never been kind to them before. Chiapas will be in even more need for the points as they are battling relegation.
While they only lost 3-2 in their last game , it was against America, their biggest rival, and at home. It was also a game that Pumas was favored for, as America was coming from the suspension of Pablo Aguilar and injuries to Paolo Goltz and Darwin Quintero. The fact they lost Miguel Samudio early on but still got the victory against a full strength Pumas side has completely soured the season so far for the team.
The fact of the matter is the season has been very inconsistent, and while Pumas has played well offensively, they have been really weak defensively. To make matter worse, their star and leading scorer of the league, Chilean Nicholas Castillo, got injured in his game against Argentina and will not make the trip to Chiapas. In defense they might also suffer, considering Dario Veron was called up by Paraguay and played on Tuesday in Brazil. The veteran player has shown his age during this season and the long trip from Brazil will not help him at all.
Chiapas, on the other hand, has been one of the revelations of the league, precisely because of their low expectations. Hampered by a terrible front office that failed to pay many of the players last season, they were one of the worst teams and were the prime candidate to be relegated. Yet an inspired start boosted the team and they got home wins against America, Tigres and most famously Chivas. They also had an away victory in Toluca. The Chivas victory was one of the most thrilling games as they were down 2-0 at halftime and came back to pull a 4-3 victory. While they have been incredible against big teams, they have suffered in other games and dropped points against teams like Puebla and Veracruz.
Pumas/Chiapas is set to be a key game for both teams. It looks like it will be a tough battle and Pumas has their work cut out for them. Coach Francisco Palencia needs to take the opportunity to turn things around because in terms of momentum, this is a key time for Pumas that might either set the momentum towards the Liguilla or sink the team’s season, especially after the big hit in morale from the last game.
Date: Saturday, April 1
Time: 4:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Victor Manuel Reyna, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico
Television: Univision Deportes Network (US-Spanish), ESPN Deportes (US-Spanish), Imagen Radio (Mexico)