After a surprisingly good first half in their season opener at home against Mazatlán, topped off by a 3-goal explosion in the final six minutes of the half, things have gone downhill from there for Chivas. A very stale second half and a bit of luck allowed them to see off their west-coast rivals by 3-0. In Round 2, however, their shortages began to show, especially on defense. For no reason whatsoever, with the game scoreless at Pachuca, CB Gilberto Sepúlveda tried to force-dribble a ball inside his own box, only to see Nico Ibáñez steal it easily and assist Víctor Guzmán who had a wide-open net. Not to mention, Gudiño’s distraction combined with the pitch’s horrid condition, resulting in an own goal, giving Pachuca their definitive second goal.
For Round 3 this past weekend, they saw themselves playing hosts to a Querétaro team who haven’t won a road game in nearly 2 years (worst streak during that span of any Liga MX team). By the 2nd minute of the match, they were already down 0-1, and struggled to create opportunities against an organized, yet extremely talent-deprived squad. Alexis Vega’s free kick in the 42nd minute saved Chivas from being the embarrassment of the week.
With all of this being said, it’s clear Chivas are still in no way ready to compete for a top spot in the league, much less a title. Unfortunately for them, the history a name holds isn’t enough to be a winner. You must have good players and find a system that suits the players you have. After letting go of pieces such as Uriel Antuna and Jesús Rodríguez (who weren’t producing much anyway), their replacements this season were Paolo Yrizar and Roberto Alvarado, respectively. No diss to the latter two, but that’s just not going to cut it.
Last semester they owned the third-best defense in the league, allowing only 13 goals. The problem with that was they scored the exact same amount, good for second-worst in the league (only behind Querétaro). The only team worse than Chivas was a team who have had ten to twelve new faces every six months. That’s simply not acceptable for a team of Chivas’ standard, or at least the one they aspire to have.
Through three games, Chivas’ only bright spot has been the talented Alexis Vega, and unfortunately for them, it’s going to stay that way. No other player on this squad has enough talent to take the team to the next level, or to simply be consistent enough to win more games than they lose. Sure, they’ll win a few, but they’ll also lose a few, and in the end, should be fighting for anywhere between 8th and 12th spot overall (a road Repechaje team).
Not to be Jonny rain cloud over here, but anyone thinking Chivas are still one of the Liga MX bigs is terribly off-course. They’ve done nothing but prove their incompetence in both bringing in players and putting together decent teams, especially over the past 15 years. Sorry to break it to you, but 3 titles over the past 35 years doesn’t constitute a big, especially having missed the playoffs and become such an irregular team over the past decade. Despite having one of the biggest fanbases in the country, if not the biggest, this club is far, far away from what made them popular back in the day, and they have their own results to show for it.