For a club who experienced an off season as tumultuous as Chivas, that certainly didn’t seem to affect the play on the field on Sunday versus Toluca. The club was able to go into “La Bombonera”, one of the toughest stadiums in Liga MX, dominate possession and come out with a 1-1 Draw. Up next for Chivas is their home opener, where they are set to host Cruz Azul Saturday night. Cruz Azul for their part had a scoreless draw at home versus Xolos, in the debut of new manager Pedro Caixihna. Heading into the Saturday’s match both clubs have made additions to their week 1 rosters, which will improve both clubs.
Chivas had a midweek addition to the roster but it was a move that was made in house. Jorge Vergara spoke to the media midweek and stated that the Oswaldo Alanis drama was finally over, and that the player would return to the field. While Oswaldo Alanis’s replacement didn’t exactly play a part in the goal that was conceded in Week 1, having Alanis available again is a considerable upgrade for a team that is deficient in that position. Part of what was able to mask the lack of quality defenders on Sunday for Chivas was Almeyda’s possession-based style of play. Aside from 15-20 mins in the first half, Chivas was able to control the possession of the ball, allowing the team to not have to rely on their defense.
But much like what we have been accustomed to in the Almeyda Era, the team still lacks goalscoring. What could be playing a part in the team’s goalscoring deficiencies is Almeyda’s insistence on playing Pulido as a “9” and lone striker. Unfortunately, while he might wear the number 9, he certainly does not play like one. In no way shape or form am I taking anything away from Pulido because he is a great striker, but he would be better served playing behind the striker almost as an attacking midfielder. Many times, Pulido will drop out of the box to recover a ball, but he’s made such an effort to recover the ball, that he is not able to get back. During the championship Clausura season, Almeyda would play Pulido and Zaldivar together, and that was the most efficient use of both players. Zaldivar is currently out, but Almeyda has both J.J. Macias and Ronaldo Cisneros, who he could possibly use in attempt maximize Pulido’s efforts and have the team score more goals.
As previously stated, La Maquina also had a midweek addition to their roster. The club welcomed ex-Chivas player Carlos Gullit Peña, who seems to be a favorite of manager Pedro Caixinha, as he also had him play at Rangers in Scotland. Gullit Peña isn’t the only ex-Chiva that Cruz Azul will field Saturday. Carlos Fierro, a fan favorite, will make his first return to Guadalajara since his departure from the club in December. While his play might not be the best, his speed could certainly be an issue for Chivas’s defense and he could certainly be more impactful in the game than a player like Peña.
With Gullit Peña and Carlos Fierro eager to show their former club they made a mistake in letting them go, both clubs eager to get their first three points of the season, and Chivas eager to show their home fans that last season was an anomaly, Saturdays match could be a high scoring affair and as exciting as any this weekend.
Date: Saturday January 13
Time: 7:06pm Pacific, 9:06pm Central, 10:06pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Chivas, Zapopan, Mexico
TV: Univision(US-Spanish), Univision Deportes Network(US - Spanish), UnivisionTDN (Mexico), TDN (Mexico)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)