Pumas will hope to overcome their first defeat of the season, but more importantly key injuries, as they return home and face Queretaro. While many Pumas fans are already looking at their big clash against rivals America on Saturday, the Queretaro game is of incredible importance as they hope to not have a repeat of their midweek game of last season against Veracruz, where they lost and started a downward spiral that almost cost them a place in the Liguilla.
Pumas had a great start to the season, winning their first three games and going top of the league table. This lasted until Saturday when they lost their first game of the season in Monterrey. The 1-0 defeat dropped the team all the way to fifth and really hampered an already fragile team in the health department. Defender Luis Quintana and forward Carlos Gonzalez both had to be subbed out prior to halftime because of injuries and will miss the game against Queretaro. This was coupled to the already injured Alejandro Arribas, who was severely missed against Monterrey.
Pumas’s offense has been great so far this season, but the defense hasn’t been as strong. Coincidentally, it’s precisely there where the majority of injuries have happened. While the return of Juan Manuel Iturbe is promising and Matias Alustiza looks set to be the replacement of Gonzalez, the defense will prove harder to fix.
Queretaro’s season has been promising at times with new coach Rafael Puente Jr., but the results just haven’t been there. They will arrive against Pumas coming from a draw at home against America, but their last away game was a 4-0 rout versus Leon. That said, Queretaro will be a tough opponent, and in particular, Edson Puch has shown some of his best play since leaving Necaxa. In addition, ex Pumas forward Matias Britos will sure be a handful for Pumas’s weakened defense. Finally, Tiago Volpi is one of the best in Liga MX, and it will take something special to beat the Brazilian goalkeeper.
Like the Veracruz game from last season, the match against Queretaro has the potential to be a tricky game. Pumas arrive as favorites, but not as much as people think. Moreover, with the game against Club América coming up, this has the potential to be a match that is overlooked.
With that in mind, a second consecutive defeat would really hurt the morale of Pumas heading into the Azteca. América has dominated Pumas under Miguel Herrera, who is yet to lose against the Universitarios. As such, Pumas should concentrate on fixing their problems first or a positive result on Tuesday isn’t likely.
Date: Tuesday, August 21
Time: 5:00pm Pacific, 6:00pm Central, 8:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Univision Deportes(United States), TDN (Mexico), Nu9ve (Mexico)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)