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Match Preview: Pumas vs Toluca

Pumas and Toluca face each other in a very even match between teams that haven’t lived up to expectations.

Estadio Olimpico Universitario will host another 12:00 PM Sunday match.
Rafael Hernandez

Pumas returns home hoping to stop a losing streak against a Toluca side that seems to be on the upside after a bad start. While it looked like things had gotten back on track with Pumas at home with a Copa MX win against Potro UAEM and a Liga MX win against bottom of the barrel Veracruz, things went bad once they hit the road again with losses away to Morelia and Monterrey. Meanwhile, Toluca got their first win of the season at home against Tijuana and then got an away tie against Necaxa during that same timeframe.

Pumas looked to have turned things around but as soon as they stepped out of Mexico City, their troubles started again. First it was a disappointing performance against Morelia, where they looked sluggish and easily gave away 3 points to a Monarcas team that had just fired their coach. Then there was a better performance against the much tougher Monterrey but it was still not enough to get a point, as they lost 2-0 on Thursday. Pumas will need to bounce back against Toluca, needing to improve especially their shooting accuracy. While some players have improved in these past games, most notably Juan Manuel Iturbe, the whole team has shown terrible finishing including players like Carlos Gonzalez, Pumas bright star at forward. Their defense has also not been at it’s best and some moves from head coach Michel have surprised fans like benching defender Luis Quintana. Still Pumas showed spirit against Monterrey and they will have the homefield advantage although they will face the one team that like Pumas, plays at the heat of 12 Pm and at an even higher altitude.

Toluca’s terrible start had people turning on Coach Ricardo Lavolpe, something unexpected since he has plenty of followers in Mexico. Still after only getting a last minute point against Cruz Azul, Toluca was finally able to win after defeating Xolos at home. They then got an away point in Aguascalientes off a 1-1 tie with Necaxa. While it’s too soon to say if they are back or a contendor, their immediate results are better than Pumas and a veteran Lavolpe has more experience than newly arrived Michel. Things look positive for Toluca to get a result in the Olimpico Universitario.

Pumas and Toluca will be a tough battle in the heat of Ciudad Universitario. Pumas had gotten most of the results at home, where they looked a lot better than on the road. Still, even at home their finishing has been a problem and the problem hasn’t looked as bad as it did this week. Toluca is a solid squad that started looking good this week and are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel under Lavolpe. It will be an uncertain match and if Pumas doesn’t find a solution to their problems in the final third, it might not be enough to continue their winning ways at home.