Two of the biggest teams in Mexico clash on Saturday night in Mexico City as Cruz Azul hosts Chivas, with both teams in current disarray. Cruz Azul are coming into this match needing a win after only getting one point in six matches, including games where they had the lead and lost it. Meanwhile, Chivas will hope to take advantage of the rest they had midweek and get back to their winning ways after losing their last two games. Chivas will hope their large fan base in Mexico City makes the trip to Estadio Azteca to get a boost after their recent struggles deflated a good start under coach Tomas Boy.
Cruz Azul’s recent results have people questioning coach Pedro Caixinha. After getting their first two wins of the season Cruz Azul faced Puebla at home, and although they had taken a lead in the game, they not only got leveled but would have lost the game had Lucas Cavallini not missed a penalty kick with the score tied at 1-1. Then during the midweek game in Tijuana, Cruz Azul took a 2-1 lead to halftime but a red card to Adrian Aldrete complicated things and they couldn’t hold on, losing by 3-2 with a last minute goal from ex Cruz Azul (and also ex Chivas) Erick “Cubo” Torres. It was the expected end to a horrible trip that had problems since Caixinha had said in a press conference that Tijuana’s Leonel Miranda had missed a game because of partying too hard. The statement brought complaints from Xolos, including the news that they would ask for a sanction against Caixinha for the supposedly false information. The controversy around the incident, plus the recent results, have once again brought the complaints from Cruz Azul fans who are asking themselves if it’s worth it to have him as a coach if the results aren’t coming in. At home and against a big team like Chivas, Cruz Azul is expected to do better against a team that is also struggling, but will probably have to face a Chivas team that will feel right at home.
Like Cruz Azul, Chivas also had recent struggles after a promising start. While they had six out of six points from their home games, they hadn’t been as successful away and they continued the trend with a 4-3 loss to Leon. The score might have flattered Chivas a little too much considering the reality is they were dominated and the game had been 4-1 favor of Leon at one point. Then a week after that, Chivas’ winning ways at home ended when they lost 2-1 against Necaxa. As such, coach Tomas Boy has gotten a lot of criticism from fans, with the main one being his decision to start Oribe Peralta. Oribe hasn’t scored and has looked a lot like the player that America said wasn’t in their future plans and was free to leave for their main rivals. Boy will need to improve a lot and no place is better than in Estadio Azteca, the home of their biggest rivals America and one where a lot of Chivas supporters go because of the large fan base they have in Mexico City.
Both teams have a lot to lose, with Cruz Azul currently out of Liguilla contention when the squad was made to win a title and with Chivas having relegation troubles. It seems that the game will be a very important match for both sides and the looming prospect of failure hopefully won’t dampen the level of play and both teams hopefully rise instead of sink because of it.
Game: Cruz Azul Fútbol Club, A.C. vs. Club Deportivo Guadalajara S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, August 31st
Time: 10:05 p.m. Eastern, 9:05 p.m. Central, 7:05 p.m. Pacific, 2:05 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (México, D.F.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Eduardo Acosta Orea, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe