Liga MX Femenil had its second clásico of the week on Sunday with Chivas hosting the “National Derby” at AKRON stadium.
This season, América has been showing serious growth but hasn’t been able to win against top teams like Rayadas and Tigres. So this was its third test of the Apertura 2022, this time against their biggest rivals.
There were some key players missing from both teams. Licha Cervantes, Guadalajara’s top goalscorer, is still recovering from her injury and therefore missed the match. Scarlett Camberos couldn’t play either because of the red card she was shown in the game against Pachuca. It’s a shame since she’s peaking in form and is a valuable player for the Águilas.
The starting lineups also generated some raised eyebrows. For example, coach Pato Alfaro decided to put young goalkeeper Celeste Espino in goal instead of veteran Blanca Félix. It was an understandable decision since Félix hasn’t been that reliable lately, while Espino has improved a lot in the last two seasons, but was nonetheless a pleasant surprise.
¡LAS ONCENAS DEL CLÁSICO! ⚽️— LigaBBVAFemenil (@LigaBBVAFemenil) October 3, 2022
Estas son las alineaciones de @ChivasFemenil y @AmericaFemenil, para el duelo que cierra la #Jornada15, el #ClásicoNacional; ambos clubes salen con su mejor cuadro posible.#VamosPorEllas pic.twitter.com/6DdsTuTBqn
Regarding América, the inclusion of Katty Martinez in the starting XI instead of Kiana Palacios was the biggest surprise after the strained relationship she’s had with her coach Ángel Villacampa was known some days ago. And more so after Palacios is among the three top goalscorers of the season while Martínez hasn’t scored yet. Despite this, his decision was going to be proved the right one.
The first half started with the visitors controlling the ball and creating good looks. América was applying high pressure on the defensive line and the defenders were leaving big gaps between them, so it was easy for the visitors to steal the ball and find a way to step into the box.
Chivas couldn’t do much in the first half hour, except for a free kick they got and that made it necessary for goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez to punch the ball away so it wouldn’t find its target.
Near minute 40, Joseline Orejel shot from distance and goalkeeper Espino had to do some work to stop that powerful shot.
The MVP of the first half was undoubtedly Nicky Hernández, who didn’t let a single player pass through her.
The last good look for América came at minute 45+2’ when Hernández served a great ball into the box. Alison González connected with a volley but it went way over the bar.
The second half showed América dominating once again, but couldn’t capitalize. The visitors decided to play on the wings after not finding any space through the middle, sending many crosses to the 6-yard box, but rarely making a connection with the targets.
After playing 60 minutes, Águilas’ coach took drastic measures by subbing out Alison González and replacing her with Kiana Palacios. She didn’t disappoint because only minutes later she opened the score.
Not only that, but some minutes after, she had a shot from distance on the far right, surprising goalkeeper Espino. The goalie reacted timely, made a great save, and sent that ball out for a corner.
The second goal of the match came after Casandra Cuevas stole the ball, carried it to Chivas’ side of the field and passed it to Palacios. She cut inside and shot a low, cornered ball, that put the score 2-0. After that, and having watched Guadalajara do little to nothing in the entire match, fans at AKRON stadium started to leave as everybody thought América was going to get the three points in enemy territory. But Chivas still had some surprises under their sleeves.
After 90 minutes, Rubí Soto decided to spice things up and got one back at 90+1’ in a set piece. And only three minutes later, Cheli Torres, who was heavily marked by Nicky Hernández during the entire game, shot to an open net in another set piece. Previously, goalkeeper Itzel González had to come way out of her line to clear the first ball, and that left enough space for the defender to level things up in the dying seconds of the game.
It wasn’t the best of matches between these two teams, but the last 30 minutes made it all worth it. it wasn’t a good game for Alison González or Joseline Montoya, who’s having a hard time recovering from past injuries and finding the rhythm between national team call-ups and club responsibilities.
There were also a lot of expectations and faith put on Boyi Iturbide, but she couldn’t do much with a fierce Joseline Orejel acting as holding midfielder. She was tightly marked and after 64 minutes on the field, was subbed out and was lucky she wasn’t shown a red card for a tough foul on Kaci. On the other hand, Katty Martínez didn’t score either but she did a good job of applying pressure on Chivas’ defensive line.
After Kiana Palacios entered the match, things changed for América, and Chivas decided to surprise everybody with two goals in the last three minutes of the match.
You might wonder what happened to América, who after playing well for 90 minutes and dominating their opponent, gave away three points like that in the dying seconds of the game. Well, it’s something that’s been happening to them against strong teams. They played well against Rayadas and Tigres this year, but couldn’t get the victory either. This time, the most reliable goalkeeper in Mexico made a big mistake in the last seconds of the match when no one expected it from her. It all points out a problem that has nothing to do with the physical part of the game, but with the mental part of it.
In the end, this draw felt like a loss for the Águilas. Did they pass the test? Opinions vary, but after games against top teams where they couldn’t get wins despite playing well, they might have learned important lessons about how to close matches that they’ll surely apply in the future.
Meanwhile for Chivas, it didn’t feel like a win. If there is something all their fans agree on, it’s that their team didn’t play well at all, but got a point and proved that even on their worst days, they can produce a positive result.
With this draw, the table didn’t change in its top positions — Chivas is still 1st and América 4th — but the brace scored by Palacios drew her closer to Burkenroad and Fishel in the race for the Golden Boot.
After frenetic weeks full of matches in Liga MX Femenil, we go into the international break and the league will resume on October 15. But it will be on the 17th when the Águilas go back in action when they play against Pumas, while Chivas play at BBVA Stadium against Rayadas de Monterrey.