After coming out alive of the Estadio Azteca with a scoreless draw against América last Saturday, Gallos Blancos have extended their winless road match streak to 47. That’s right, 47 matches (18 draws, 29 losses). That’s a Liga MX record in the short season format era, and it’s second all-time, trailing only Correcaminos de la UAT, who went 54 straight in the early to mid 90s, still during the long season format era.
In another regular offseason for Querétaro, they saw 10+ departures as well as arrivals, in what was yet another team overhaul. In all fairness, most team regulars did remain, such as Gabriel Rojas, ‘Burrito’ Hernández, Kevin Balanta, Ángel Sepúlveda, and Pablo Barrera. But to have so many changes every six months just forebodes a disaster every time, as it takes time for players to grow used to one another.
The one positive for Gallos is their head coach, club legend Mauro Gerk who is going into his second season with the club. One might say this is his actual first chance to actually plan out a team to his liking, as he was brought in last season in a rushed manner, with just a month to go prior to the start of the Apertura 2022, so he didn’t get the chance to take a look at players he actually wanted.
Either way, it figures to be another long season for Querétaro, bringing in many unknown / undeveloped players, and knowing they lack the quality to complete with most teams in the league, despite Gerk proving the contrary last season, making a very competitive team out of a very lacking roster. As Gerk said in the presser following the América match, “We’re aiming for positions 12-10. That’s what we put forward for ourselves. It’s tough. We’re coming off a few punches from last season, sometimes undeserved, but we’ve started well, that’s the good thing, and that motivates us for the future.”
Gallos sit last in the relegation race, 9 points behind Tijuana (their nearest rival), and will more than likely finish where they are now, pending a disaster from Xolos or any other club.
Puebla on the other hand, started their season with a 5-1 pummeling on Monday night at the Estadio Hidalgo to the hands of current champs Pachuca, who didn’t seem to lose a beat during the past two and a half months. And it makes sense after the loss of key figures that led to their success in recent seasons, such as Maxi Araujo to Toluca, Jordi Cortizo to Rayados, Israel Reyes to América, and Iván Moreno joining León for the next year on loan.
Puebla finished 8th last season with 22 points and lost to América in the QF round. In the Clausura 2022, they finished 5th with 26 points, barely missing out on the top 4 only due to goal difference. They were also eliminated by América in the QF. Their Apertura 2021 season was a very solid one as well, finishing 7th with 24 points before losing to León in the QF. Clausura 2021 was even better, finishing 3rd overall with 28 points, losing to Santos in the semifinals.
The common denominator for all four of those seasons: head coach Nicolás Larcamón. Unfortunately for them, the Argentine coach signed with León upon concluding their Apertura 2022 season, so they must now adjust to not only life without key players from previous seasons, but also to “new” head coach Eduardo Arce. “New” because he was Larcamón’s assistant coach during both years of his tenure, so if anyone would be prepared to take over this squad, it’s him. Whether or not he can sustain the same level of consistency however, remains to be seen.
Puebla have dominated the meetings between these two for quite some time. Out of their last 9 meetings, Querétaro have only won once, while Puebla have claimed victory 4 times, and the same number of draws between them.
Puebla will have to get used to their new squad for sure, and that might cost them in the short term. Meanwhile, if Querétaro are smart, they can pounce on that and at least avoid a loss here. That being said, I don’t see Gallos breaking their streak in the Cuauhtémoc, a place where they’ve historically struggled mightily, but I do see them escaping with a point given the circumstances.
Puebla 1-1 Querétaro