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Rayados 0, Chivas 1: Who’s your daddy?

Monterrey continues its bad streak of results against Guadalajara.

Monterrey v Chivas - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

After dropping last night’s season opener at home by a 0-1 final to the hands of Chivas, Rayados have now only come out winners in 1 out of their last 8 meetings with El Rebaño Sagrado. Chivas have now won 4 of those, while the other 3 have resulted in draws. What’s worse is during that stretch, Rayado have failed to win any of the 4 matches played in the BBVA. So it’s official; Chivas are Rayados’ daddy, for now.

A lucky Alexis Vega deflection a couple minutes into the second half was all it took for a Chivas squad who came in clearly looking to prioritize defending and counter when given the chance. And when the best chance of the match arose for Rayados (a PK in the 88th minute), Germán Berterame did what most Rayados have done when put in this same scenario: he sent it over the crossbar. The penalty curse for this franchise continues.

Monterrey came out as they usually do at home, applying pressure on the visitors and putting them in difficult situations. They created multiple scoring opportunities, but simply couldn’t find the back of the net. After their initial 15-20 minute assault, they took it down a notch and became a bit more selective with plays going forward. That allowed Chivas to get in a couple attacking opportunities. But toward the end of the half, Vucetich instructed his team to step on the gas again, and it nearly payed off when a Funes Mori header found the back of the net in stoppage time, only to be disallowed because of offside positioning on the Argentine striker’s part.

The second half was much sloppier from the home team and it was clear right from the start, as two Chivas (one of them Alexis Vega) got through a pack of four Rayados unscathed, and Vega ensuingly drove the ball unchallenged in the final third all the way up to the half circle of Rayados’ area. He fired off a weak shot that appeared to have been heading out for a goal kick, but ironically took a deflection off Héctor Moreno’s boot and agonizingly bounced into the back of the net.

Chivas retreated even further for the rest of the match and the same underlying issues for Vucetich’s squad took over, as Rayados suddenly looked lost on the pitch. Some players ran, other didn’t. They appeared to play under no real system. It was more of a “just find whoever’s open” strategy. Vucetich’s subs didn’t work, as Rodrigo Aguirre couldn’t get a grasp on the ball until a stoppage time attempt, and you forgot Jordi Cortizo made his debut. Duvan Vergara also returned for the first time since his torn ACL suffered almost a year ago. He was responsible for the play inside the area that led to the Berterame PK.

A good first result for Paunović for sure, but you probably end up losing this game 9 out of 10 times. If they continue playing the way they did yesterday, I wouldn’t expect this result many more times during the season. For Rayados, it looks like the same team we’ve seen over and over again who are unable to put together a solid, convincing performance to really regain that elite title contender status. We’ll have to give ‘Tato’ Noriega time to make an impact on the organization, but definitely not a promising sign to start with.

In terms of the ref, I liked the second yellow he showed to Chivas defender Gilberto Sepúlveda which left them with 10 men. He clearly went for Maxi Meza’s body and not the ball, even though Meza did cooperate with dramatizing his fall. The other correct call was the PK at the end of the match. Berterame was clearly fouled as he attempted the shot with his left foot and the Chivas defender went in recklessly, stomping on his right foot. Adonai Escobedo initially said it was a no-call, but upon being summoned to VAR, quickly straightened his decision.

With this, Rayados get their Clausura 2023 under way in a somber mood. A home loss is not expected with this type of club. Now, don’t get me wrong; they’re still title contenders as ever, but they must increase their intensity and stop looking like a chicken with its head cut off when they have the ball. They need a true attacking structure, but it’s impossible to find one when not everybody makes their adequate runs. Chivas get three points they obviously weren’t expecting, but more importantly prove just how beatable Rayados really are, even with such a lackluster squad like their own.

Up next for Rayados is a visit to Cruz Azul, while Chivas travel to San Luis for Matchday 2.