After defeating Rayados Saturday night by a final of 1-0, Cruz Azul now find themselves on a 9-game winning streak, the second largest in franchise history. If they defeat the surging Atlas next weekend at home, they will have tied their longest streak in franchise history of 10 consecutive victories, achieved only by the 1971-72 squad. And what an impressive feat it would be. During this span, they’ve defeated teams such as Tigres, Toluca, León, as well as their latest victim, Rayados. In other words, it’s been no walk in the park. They’ve faced some tough teams they’ve dealt with accordingly. So, kudos to Reynoso and his players.
With all of that being said, let’s be honest, if there’s a team who’s been in this position before, it’s La Máquina; either a good start or late hot streak during the season, find themselves in the top seeds of the league table, nothing but praise for their head coach, revived ‘title-contender’ status, and pretty much Heaven on Earth for the rest of the regular season. Unfortunately for them, however, the playoffs eventually arrive, and in one way or another, they are either defeated or find a way to crumble in clutch moments.
The latest example of this was just a few months ago, when they carried an 8-game unbeaten streak from the Clausura 2020 into the start of the Guard1anes 2020 season, and extended it to 11 before ultimately having the streak broken. At the start of last season, they were favorites to win the title and Siboldi was seen as a hero and master tactician. By December, following their loss to Pumas in the SF, fans and announcers everywhere clamored for Siboldi’s firing and the club was seen as an embarrassment, just days after being immensely praised for their 4-0 stomping in the first leg. In other words, it’s a constantly changing world for Cruz Azul and its fans everywhere, and with good reason. This is a team that has struggled to respond in key moments, and despite showing extreme resilience and strength during the regular season, ultimately come up short when it counts the most, or at least since 1997.
Now, this is not to take away from their current streak of 9 victories. It must be recognized, but in the end, this should mean nothing to Cruz Azul or its fans. They’ve seen their team in very similar situations before ultimately fall short in all of them over the past 20+ years. For La Máquina, it’s a championship-or-bust season every season. This sort of performance is simply expected from them every season, and we all know they’re capable of it. It comes with the “big team” territory. And this streak, just like Siboldi’s less than a year ago, will mean nothing and even be forgotten if they find a way to blow it yet again come playoff time.
In conclusion, everyone should keep their cool with Cruz Azul’s current state, They’ve won 9 games in a row and have proven they’re a good team. We all knew that. Now, they must ride this momentum into the playoffs and prove they can do the same when it matters most. The fact they basically have the same squad they did last season (other than their head coach) leads me to believe there isn’t much reason to believe their outcome this season will be any different as of yet. With other big fish such as América and Tigres lurking in the background, Cruz Azul must prove they’ve matured mentally and can come through in important matches. Until then, every single win should be taken with a grain of salt. Don’t be fooled by the Guard1anes 2021 version of La Máquina, as we’ve seen this exact same story many times before. The real deal for them begins mid-May.