Pumas and Puebla, two teams riding high from great victories last week, prepare to clash in what possibly could be a great match this Saturday. Pumas is the only undefeated club in Liga MX, but they have generally not played well and have been more lucky than good up until Sunday, where they were the better side in a victory against Tijuana. Puebla meanwhile were the surprise team of the tournament after starting with victories over Mazatlan and Chivas, but they slowed down until they seemed to get back this past week with a crushing 4-1 victory over Toluca. Now both teams seem to be ready to continue their improved level of play against each other.
Before the season started, nobody would have thought Pumas would be the last undefeated team in Mexico. They were a total disappointment in the Copa GNP por Mexico, they lost their Coach Michel Gonzalez the week before the season started, and they had one of the weakest squads and money troubles. And yet they surprised everybody by being undefeated seven games in. They hadn’t really showed much in terms of level of play however to say it was a deserved record. Pumas got two wins in their first two games against Queretaro and Atlas, and then proceeded to tie four straight games. The ties ranged from total failure (only getting a tie at home against FC Juarez even when FC Juarez played most of the game with only 9 players because of two red cards) to thrilling (getting a goal in injury time away to Tigres), but the level of play was mostly mediocre especially in their match against Mazatlan, a scoreless tie that many fans considered the worst game so far this season in all of Liga MX. But Pumas started to turn things around when they returned to the victory against Tijuana at home last Sunday. Pumas was the better team and got a solid 3-0 victory including a half court golazo by Bryan Mendoza. Pumas will have their work cut out against Puebla but being at home and having the team improve, especially forward Carlos Gonzalez, means they should be slight favorites.
Puebla started the season as the surprise team of the year. They started the season by crushing Mazatlan FC in the first ever game played in Estadio “Kraken” by a score of 4-1. They later returned home and came close to giving Cruz Azul their first defeat of the season until Cruz Azul tied the game with an injury time goal. Then they went to Guadalajara and defeated Chivas. Unfortunately for them, that would be the end of their positive results and they will start a three game losing streak against Tigres, Pachuca, and Tijuana. Even though their level of play had been acceptable and all those matches had been very even, they still got no points out of three games. Yet the slide would end this past Friday when they crushed Toluca by 4-1. It was a great game played by Puebla, although the fact that Toluca followed that game by getting crushed 4-1 by Queretaro, might show that there were serious problems with Toluca’s defense that were just exposed. Still Puebla has played better than expected as opposed to Pumas, who has gotten better results than expected but not necessarily a better level of play.
Pumas and Puebla seems to be a tough game to predict. Pumas should be the favorite but they have had trouble with Puebla before and they have suffered at times this season on defense. Yet Puebla also has had trouble scoring besides their matches against Mazatlan and Toluca and Pumas should test their defense especially if Gonzalez keeps up and if Dinenno ends his personal slump. Regardless things should be interesting this Saturday in the Estadio Olimpico Universitario.