Pumas are hoping to finish their losing streak in Liga MX when they host Chivas on Sunday. Pumas will hope that their win against Lobos BUAP is a good omen for them after losing back to back games against Veracruz and Tijuana. Meanwhile, Chivas will be hoping to get only their second win of the season. Like Pumas, Chivas also got a midweek win against Cibao in the CONCACAF Champions League but didn’t please their fans in only winning 2-0 against a Semi-Pro team.
Two weeks ago, Pumas was having one of their best openings to the season in years, but then two bad losses sent the team crashing back to reality. Suddenly, it looked like Pumas’s pre-season worries were becoming a reality, especially on defense. Still, on Wednesday they went back to their winning ways, albeit in the Copa MX tournament. Their 4-1 victory against Lobos BUAP was a return to optimism, although both teams had their alternate squads.
The best benefit Pumas might have was resting their starters, as well as staying a week in Mexico City, while Chivas did the opposite. Their home advantage of a pro-crowd and the 12:00 PM heat will definitely help a team that relies a lot on their energy and strength in those conditions, especially against a team that doesn’t normally sit back. Those conditions will heavily favor Pumas in a game that normally would be pretty even. That said, facing a Chivas team that won the league title a year ago and is one of the two biggest teams in Mexico will always be a tough task.
For their second straight tournament, Chivas has turned into a disappointment. Coach Matias Almeyda seems to not know what to do to turn things around, in what most people think is the biggest team in Mexico. Popularity, though, doesn’t always translate to a big team, and Chivas has a more limited squad that the league favorites. With that said, Chivas should still have a better record that they currently have and they have played better than their results show.
The main reason Chivas will come as the underdogs on Sunday revolves around the conditions of the game. Like Pumas, Chivas played midweek, but their game was on Thursday away in the Dominican Republic. Unlike Pumas, Chivas played full strength. To make matters worse, they didn’t fly straight to Mexico City but returned to Guadalajara on Friday and traveled to Mexico City on Saturday. The will have to play with the full strength squad at 12 PM on Sunday, where the heat and altitude will benefit a Pumas team that has a week’s rest and had no travel.
Pumas and Chivas are set to face each other in the biggest game this week. It’s a strong rivalry that has produced some of the best games but it doesn’t look likely to be as intense on Sunday. Both teams need a big game, but Chivas extensive travel and few days of rest have them at a sever disadvantage. Pumas has been given a big opportunity to snap their current funk on Sunday but need to know that failing to take advantage of it will result in a big hit to their season.
Date: Sunday February 25
Time: 10:00am Pacific, 12:00pm Central, 01:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Olímpico de Universitario, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Univision(US-Spanish), Univision Deportes Network(US-Spanish), UnivisionTDN (Mexico), Canal de las Estrellas (Mexico)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)