Yesterday night, Chivas were held scoreless for the fifth time this season in seven total matches. That’s right, the fifth time. Their 0-0 draw at home vs. Pachuca was definitely not a pretty one, as the match lacked depth in goal-opportunity creation and quality attacks. Both teams proved they’re far away from challenging the elite squads in the league. But at least Pachuca is averaging a tad over a goal per match and have somehow climbed all the way to 5th place in the league table. Not bad, considering. Chivas on the other hand, have scored a total of four goals thus far, but more alarmingly, have only managed to score in two league matches. Fortunately for the Rebaño Sagrado, those two matches resulted in wins.
Despite Vucetich only accounting for two of those five scoreless matches, he’s got a lot of work to do if he’s to turn this team into a legitimate title contender, which is of course what everyone is expecting. After 65 minutes of ineffectiveness yesterday, “Vuce” decided to take out Jesús Angulo in favor of the undisciplined Uriel Antuna, who was hailed as savior upon his arrival to Guadalajara back in January. He has failed to make any sort of impact. He only played in 9 games last season, 7 of them as a starter. This season, he’s played in 5, having started only 3. And believe it or not, he has yet to score a league goal since his arrival.
Vucetich’s second and final sub of the match was in the 76th minute, when he replaced midfielder Fernando Beltrán in favor of the more offensive-minded Dieter Villalpando, who made his sixth appearance of the season. All of this along with Isaac Brizuela’s known inconsistency and lack of quality, coupled with Alexis Vega failing to make an impact, have made for a very difficult time for J.J. Macías, the only true danger on the pitch for “Rey Midas.” The two most dangerous plays for the red and white came from Macias’ boots, with a couple right-footed shots, one stopped by keeper Ustari in the first half, and the other barely sailing over the crossbar in the second half. Apart from that, he was unable to make any significant difference.
The issue at hand now veers toward Vucetich’s lack of talent and offensive depth. The fact he only used two out his five available subs speaks volumes, considering the snooze-fest going on with both teams. The fact that Javier “La Chofis” López and Ronaldo Cisneros were his only remaining offensive options tells you just how lacking this team currently is. It’ll be a long season for the red and white, and more so for their new head coach, who was brought on with extremely high title expectations. The ugly truth for them is that this season, they’ll be lucky to make it through to the Quarter-Finals.
The absence of any real offensive threat other than striker Macías really conditions this team, as their rivals will be paying close attention to J.J. with his teammates unable to make a real difference. But if anyone can fix it, it’s Vucetich. The fact that he managed one of the greatest teams in Liga MX history (2009-10 Rayados) and managed to guide a lost franchise like Querétaro to its first and only league final says a lot about what this head coach brings to the table and the impact he has on his players. But, to accomplish anything of the sort, team owner Amaury Vergara must be ready to invest in at least a couple solid Mexican offensive players. Otherwise, bringing “Vuce” on board will have been a total waste.
So, the bottom line for Chivas is that this season won’t amount to anything meaningful. They should play a wild-card round (repechaje) match considering 12 teams advance, but I wouldn’t expect anything close to a deep playoff run. However, with Vucetich at the helm and therefore a guaranteed orderly defensive system in place, they’ll be missing a couple of good compliments to the ever dangerous J.J. Macías, and this team could really start to make some noise next season. That should be Ricardo Peláez’s winter transfer window target.