Nahuel is back to his “Nahueleadas.” Just less than a month after conceding a midfield goal to Atlético San Luis as well as misjudging a last gasp header which pulled San Luis even, Guzmán still wasn’t able to contain himself. Yesterday, in a scoreless game with under 10 minutes to play, Ismael Sosa took the ball on the left flank of his own penalty box and sent it forward in the direction of Roberto de la Rosa, who in turn, beat Chaka Rodríguez to it, and about ten yards in front of the midfield line, geared up for a shot that easily arched an inexplicably out of position keeper (Nahuel) who found himself still outside of his penalty box as the ball sailed over him. Simply inexcusable for a keeper.
The question I keep asking myself is, how in the world was he that far out that he wasn’t even back in his penalty box by the time the ball was parallel to him? That signals one of two things to me; either he has an excess of confidence to the point where he wrongly believes other professionals can’t outplay him, or he’s simply become undisciplined at the position. HINT: Neither are good. Of course, it’s never okay for any player at any position to make a mistake, but if there’s one position that must be next to perfect at all times, it’s the keeper, because a mistake translates directly into a score for the rival team, as opposed to any other position, that still has a line behind them to bail them out.
Nahuel has now cost his team points in two out of the last three road matches - at San Luis (2 points) and at Pachuca (1 point). Thanks to that, Tigres today sit 13th in the league table with just 12 points, on the outside of the amazingly generous playoff positions. That doesn’t worry me in the least, as all they’ll have to do is turn it on for a couple games and they’ll be in, but it does show how far this team has come from its true potential. Most importantly, they aren’t even close to the elite defense we know they prioritize so heavily. They’ve allowed 14 goals this season, 11th best in Liga MX. For the first time in a long time, Tigres find themselves outside the top half regarding that stat.
With yesterday’s loss, Tigres have now gone 5 consecutive matches without a win (2D, 3L), and have lost 4 out of their last 7. This is by no means a common statline for Ferretti’s club over the past decade. The fact they’re out of playoff positioning with just six games to go will make the alarms go off in the blue and yellow camp. The offense continues to look weak and are unable to finish plays. The defense continues to fail in clutch moments of matches, giving up scores in the final minutes of the match three times over the past month. Not to mention, their highly talented keeper can’t seem to stop giving up critical goals on rookie mistakes.
So, what’s next for Tigres football-wise? Considering the lukewarm attack and faulty defense they’ve had of late, they only have two rivals I expect them to beat hands down (Querétaro and Juárez). Their other four rivals (América, Pumas, Rayados, Chivas) are all toss-ups. Now, like León, I expect Tigres to reclaim their quality and intense brand of football we know them to own. In no way do I see Tigres missing the playoffs or being unable to pick it up in the final stretch. But that doesn’t prove there isn’t trouble in paradise. Rumors surrounding how long its taken for Tuca and the club to finalize his 3-year contract extension, as well as the many clamors for his exit have slowly grown stronger, and with this horrid spell of results of late, they’ve accelerated. Could the players be losing faith in Ferretti? If they miss the playoffs, would that mark the end of his era at Tigres? I personally don’t believe either of those questions to be true. However, I do believe his system could be a bit outdated and new leadership could have a positive impact. With all of that being said, I don’t expect Tuca to be going anywhere anytime soon, as his 3-year extension is just a matter of time, continuing along with what has made this the team of the decade.