After a week 1 draw that left many Chivas fans feeling like the team left points on the table, Chivas will now head to Mexico City to take on Cruz Azul, Saturday night. For Matias Almeyda, week 1 showed his commitment to the Chivas youth and while they showed a lot of promise, week 2 will be the return of three key players for team. Cruz Azul for their part is off to the start many expected them to have after they traveled to Tijuana and defeated Xolos. Cruz Azul will look to continue their success and get off on the right foot at home, while the defending champions will look to get their first three points.
The return of Rodolfo Pizarro, Orbelin Pineda and Jair Pereira is the biggest news for Chivas this week. All three players have been key to Chivas’ success and while Almeyda was able to adequately use players in their place, their return is important. Alanis might have gotten the call up to the national team first team, but Jair is the better defender on the Chivas roster. With Jair in the backline the Chivas’ safety net returns. Orbelin and Pizarro, both fundamental pieces in the championship run are at this point irreplaceable. Their return will be essential to kick start the offense which wasn’t able to score a goal, week 1. Both players scored goals during their goal cup appearances and I’m sure Almeyda will hope this translates into goals for the club.
It’s still very early in the season, but there is no indication that the Chivas team is experiencing a championship hangover. As the roster continues to get healthy this notion will certainly dissipate and surely getting three points away from home will help relieve some of the pressure from the team.
For Paco Jemez the season could not have started better. Last season he experienced a very tumultuous tenure at the forefront of the maquina cementera. He was unable to get the team to qualify for la Liguilla but there was one thing his team was able to do. Cruz Azul hosted Chivas last season and defeated them quite convincingly. The circumstances were a bit different then and both of these teams have both improved but that is certainly a mental edge Jemez will use for his club heading into Saturdays match. Many Liga MX pundits expect Cruz Azul to make a deep run this season, if they are to do that, a win at home versus Chivas will be a good start to their season.
Chivas need their first three points before the talk of championship hangover starts and Cruz Azul will look to get another three points and defeat Chivas once again in the Jemez era. With both teams needing to win for different reasons, Saturday night’s match should be an attractive affair.
Date: Saturday, July 29
Time: 3:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Azul, Mexico City, Mexico
Television: Univision Deportes (US-Spanish), TDN (Mexico)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)
Listings via LiveSoccerTV.com.