After a humble 1-0 victory against Querétaro in Week 1, Pachuca continued their quest on Monday when they hosted Toluca.
Coach Juan Cacho put Renata Masciarelli and Janelly Farías in the starting XI, while coach Gabriel Velasco decided to start goalkeeper Kayla Thompson, so this game marked the American’s league debut.
The Brown University alumni showed some class at the beginning of the game, but once Tuzas started to exploit the left wing, where they usually find lots of space and time to pass the ball between their attackers, they snatched the first goal of the match. Farías was fundamental for this, sending long balls from the defensive line.
Charlyn Corral and Monica Ocampo won in their 1v1s, which outnumbered Toluca’s defense and put it in serious trouble more than once, resulting in Pachuca scoring three goals just 22 minutes into the match.
But before the first half hour, Toluca showed signs of life when María Fernanda Sánchez scored a golazo leaving the entire defense behind with a mean dribble.
A terrible mistake by Natalia Colin at minute 31 left Corral 1v1 with the goalkeeper and a golden opportunity to score her hat trick, and she didn’t miss.
Things were going to get worse for the visitors because minutes later, Patricia Jardón gave the ball away and after Marta Cox recovered, she sent it to Corral who scored her 4th of the afternoon.
After that, coach Velasco decided to put in another defender, Yamanic Martínez, for forward Gloria Villamayor. But the substitution didn’t make any difference, because Jenni Hermoso scored the sixth with a header, creating some space for herself between the center-backs, one of them being Martínez.
Marta Cox pulled the strings of this Pachuca with precise balls into the box and great game vision during the entire time she was on the field.
More changes came at the beginning of the second half, with Román subbing in for Jardón.
Things looked a little better for Las Diablas at the beginning of the second half when Pachuca’s tepid defense gave Toluca way for their second score.
Nonetheless, not even five minutes after that, Tuzas would score their 7th with a good finish by the tireless Lizbeth Ángeles after Parra couldn’t intercept the pass by Cox.
Jennifer Hermoso scored her brace with an assist by Charlyn. 8 goals in 80 minutes for Tuzas. Minutes later, the debutant Vanessa Millsaps scored the 9th.
It was a night to forget for Toluca - a horror movie. Not even goalkeeper Thompson, who was one of the few Toluca could trust, was mistake-free. When trying to distribute, she left the ball on a platter to Charlyn so she could assist Alice Soto for the 10th goal of the night.
If anything, this game showed how much growth some teams in the league still need. After qualifying for Liguilla last season, Toluca’s journey was cut short when they played the team that ended up winning the cup, Tigres. The score after two games in the quarter-finals was 9-0 (4-0 first leg, 5-0 second leg), in two very lopsided matches.
Having played twice so far, Toluca are not looking better than last season and have two losses in two games. After 10 goals conceded plus the one Tijuana scored on them in their opener, Toluca are the team with the most goals against.
The season is still young, but if Toluca want to grow in the following months, they need to up their defensive game and passing. In the game against Tuzas, they kept giving the ball away and couldn’t even connect two passes. And when I talk about growing, I don’t mean reaching Liguilla. That’s always nice, sure, but what good would it do them to get there only to lose 9-0 again? They need to go back to the basics; to the little things that end up making a difference.
On the other hand, Pachuca made a statement with that score, but let’s not get carried away. It’s been said the season is still young and Tuzas have been known in the past year for being a two-fold team. They would have a great game one week and the next would be lost on the field. Of course, this match surely hyped any Pachuca fan, but it will be important for the team to take things into perspective when preparing for the next game.
Pachuca’s success will depend on a lot of factors, one of those being that their new signings pay off. And among those, of course, is Jennifer Hermoso who hasn’t been the player everybody was expecting since her arrival last year. After a brace in this game and a lot of smart balls sent to her teammates, maybe we just witnessed the beginning of lethal Jenni.
Of course, everybody is talking about Charlyn Corral, and the highlights are hers this week. The 31-year-old is currently the league’s top goalscorer with 5 goals. And about her four goals scored against Toluca, the stats say she has become the sixth player to score that amount of goals in one game. Berenice Muñoz, Lucero Cuevas, Caro Jaramillo, Desireé Monsiváis, and Katty Martínez are the others to do it. What sets Charlyn apart? Well, she’s the only one to do so in only 45 minutes.