As action in Liga MX resumes following the international break (molero games break), we focus on the three things that concern Chivas the most for the rest of the tournament.
But first, the State of Chivas: After starting the tournament not so hot, Chivas should be called butter because they have been on a roll...(i’ll see myself out now). Despite losing their last game against Pachuca, they have won five of their last six games in both Liga MX and Copa MX competitions, even topping their group for Copa MX. They currently sit 12th on the standings and any talk of Cardozo exiting has seemingly came to a halt. The team has been able to settle in on doing what they do best, making the competition play at their level with Gael Sandoval, Javier “Chofis”Lopez, or Isaac “Conejo” Brizuela being the key differences. Finally, the injury to Chivas legend Carlos Salcido has actually improved the club.
Lopez was dealt a snub from joining the Mexico National Team during last week’s international friendlies but showed out this past week in the Clasico Nacional when Chivas took on the guys in yellow in a friendly. He provided an assist that would make Spanish legend Andres Iniesta blush! Jokes aside it was a beautiful assist, and i know the rest of Chivas Nation is excited to see him be more creative and thrive on the wing for the rest of the tournament.
It is the same subject of every season for Chivas. Our pool of players is already limited due to fielding only Mexican players, but injuries keep holding us back. One has to wonder if it’s conditioning or the coaching staff at this point. Either way we seem to always be decimated by injuries. That trend has continued this year, starting with first choice goalkeeper Raul Gudiño who just very recently returned to action. Then there is Michael Perez and Orbelin Pineda, who picked up a knock in practice with the national team. Both Perez and Pineda will be out for Sunday’s game against Monterrey.
There is also the injury to Carlos Salcido. Although no player is deserving of an injury, the fact of the matter is the team looks better without the 38-year-old. If the team left an opposing stadium and left him there just like Pumas previously did with Josecarlos Van Rankin, I wouldn’t be too upset.
3.) Sandoval finding form again.
Halfway through the winning streak, one player in particular was putting the weight of the team on his back. That player is Gael Sandoval. Occupying the field through the middle as Pizzaro once did for Chivas, Sandoval has dazzled on and off the ball. Under Cardozo we have seen a Sandoval that is flourishing in a way that Almeyda couldn’t help inspire. That’s no knock on Almeyda. I will always appreciate that coach forever for what he did for the club, pulling us out of a dark time, but Sandoval is looking as promising as he was advertised when he was traded for Jose Juan “Gallito Vazquez” last year.
That said, the past couple games he has seem fatigued, getting subbed out early. Hopefully, the international break did him some good and he can reclaim the dominance he was achieving.
What do you think? What’s Chivas ceiling?