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Chivas earn a tough away point in Toluca

Toluca and Chivas come out for the start of their game.
Rafael Hernandez

Chivas came back from a 1-0 deficit to get a draw in the “Bombonera” on Sunday. Eduardo Lopez scored in controversial fashion to level the score for Chivas, who at times looked the better team but ran out of gas. Toluca had a good performance overall and were unlucky to hit the post twice. The game had some good offensive lapses, but like many early season games, the physicality ended costing some players, especially for Chivas. Chivas will now return home to face Cruz Azul, while Toluca will travel to Leon.

In front of a sold out crowd, Toluca and Chivas started their season. While the game was played in Toluca, there were more supporters from Chivas. The game started well with Toluca having some of the best chances, while Chivas had more of the possession.

Early in the half, a Toluca shot hit the post and fell for Fernando Uribe, who made a bicycle kick that also hit the woodwork. Moments later, Chivas then had a great opportunity that Lopez sent wide.

Toluca opened the scoring when this time a bicycle kick did work. Alexis Vega was able to get the ball in the area and his low bicycle kick gave Toluca the lead.

Chivas pushed up looking for the equalizer and had the better chances after the goal. The first half ended with Chivas doing enough to deserve a tie they hadn’t gotten.

Toluca, though, opened the second half with great pressing and Pablo Barrientos missed a great opportunity to double the lead by hitting the ball with his right leg when normally he’s a lefty. The ball went wide and Toluca would later pay for that mistake. On a great play, Eduardo Lopez got the ball and fooled the Toluca defender as he then took the Toluca keeper and scored with a great touch. The goal was very controversial as most of Toluca’s players claimed that the player, formely known as “La Chofis”, had handled the ball instead of chesting it. Replays weren’t clear but it looked like Lopez goal was rightfully allowed.

After the goal, Chivas continued playing well, but as time went on, they started to fade. To make matters worse, Orbelin Pineda was subbed out for Gael Sandoval, who made his Chivas debut. Unfortunately for him, Sandoval had no impact at all and it seemed that his substitution hurt the team, which kind of made Almeyda overly cautious. This resulted in extremely tired Chivas players and Toluca took control.

Rubens Sambueza made a great low cross that Rodolfo Cota saved, and later on substitute Luis Quinones had a great opportunity saved by a Chivas defender.

The game finished 1-1 and Chivas looked to be the happier team with that result. While both teams are expected to have good seasons, based on their squads those expectations might be exaggerated. Still, they matched up pretty well and while these teams don’t look as candidates for the title, they are right in the next tier. Thus, it was a very even game and both teams brought their best effort, which is surprising for a season opener.

Ultimately, Chivas got the better result, after not only getting an away tie but also coming back to tie the game. Toluca, however, showed they will be a tough team at home, and no team should have an easy time there. Now Chivas faces a tough home opener against Cruz Azul, while Toluca will also have a tough away game in Leon. It seems both will face a similar challenge for their second straight week.