After being down 1-2 to a visiting America with only 25 minutes to go on Saturday night, Rayados had fans worried they’d drop their second game in as many tries to start the season. Fortunately for them, the home team found an answer in Maxi Meza and their newest acquisition, Rodrigo Aguirre, to help put them over the hump and claim a vital victory early in the season over an always tough America.
But the troubling part isn’t so much the fact they were close to dropping both games. In fact, it’s been just about as tough a start to a season any team can have. Visiting Santos and playing America anywhere will always present a challenge. No; the issue with Vucetich’s squad is the mere fact they had taken the lead in both games and were close to coughing them both up because of their virtually inexistent defense.
That’s right. Rayados are in sole possession of the league’s worst defense thus far. They’ve allowed 6 total goals in just two matches, and they should’ve allowed many more. America had at least three clear opportunities in the final 15 minutes of Saturday’s match to tie, not to mention the chances earlier in the match. Upon identifying this same weakness they’ve had over the past several seasons, why Davino didn’t look to bolster their defense a little is beyond me. They brought in 3 new players this season - all strikers (Aguirre, Rojas, Berterame), and not a single new defender.
The thing is, when it comes down to it, this Rayados defense has proven they can’t keep up. They’re extremely faulty, error-prone, and award wide open shots to the opposition on a regular basis. They fielded their best defensive line (although Moreno could’ve replaced Montes), and they still weren’t even close to stopping America. This defensive line was completely overrun from the beginning, And even though they do have the firepower to put up big offensive numbers, we all know you must have a certain degree of defense in order to survive those critical moments in the liguilla.
Rayados should make the playoffs easily. In fact, they could more than likely compete for a top 4 spot. But as long as that defense remains the same, they will continue to allow huge lanes, open strikers, and many goals. When a team has so many holes like this one, you know they’re easy prey for the bigger clubs, such as Tigres and America, and that’s what’s prevented them from going further in the league the previous seasons. We know of Vucetich’s ability to lead and fix a team. The problem is, he doesn’t he have the defenders to fix the Apertura 2022 Rayados. A big improvement will be required if Rayados are to make a deep playoff run this season.