FC Juárez seemed poised to make a big splash this season, but instead ended near the bottom of the table like they had in past seasons. The Bravos had a young team many believed would be the Cinderella story of the season, but could not pull it together to even make the play-in round. So, what happened?
Juárez started off the season on a positive note. In their first three games, they had two wins and one draw against tough opponents. They drew against current champions Tigres and defeated both Toluca and América. The biggest shock was taking down the giant Águilas. When that happened followed by the tie against Tigres the next week, people started realizing that this may just be Juárez’s season. The momentum continued in the Leagues Cup as they won their first two games, but then everyone was given a glimpse of the old Bravos when they were embarrassed against MLS side LAFC 1-7.
Maybe the first few games were just a one off, but then league play resumed and they drew against Chivas and defeated Pumas the following week. They suffered their first loss to Puebla in week six. In those first five games, they scored a total of 12 goals. Juárez were able to pick themselves up after the loss and went on to win and draw their next two. Then week nine hit and that was when everything went downhill.
In week nine, the Bravos faced Atlas where they lost 1-2 at home. Many believed it would just be a small misstep and they’d pick themselves back up again. Unfortunately, that was not the case as they went on a four game losing streak. They lost to Tijuana, Monterrey, and Pachuca. Monterrey was, respectfully, the only big team that Juárez faced in those four weeks. Yes, anything can happen against any opponent, but historically Monterrey were the strongest opponent, so a loss against them wasn’t a big surprise. In those four games, they allowed 11 goals which is one goal off from how many they scored in the first five. They looked to turn things around the following week when they defeated Atlético San Luis, but that was short lived as they closed out the final stretch of the season with another four consecutive losses. In those four games, they allowed 12 goals which just about ended their dreams of making the postseason.
While many hoped this season would turn out differently for the Bravos, the reality is that the team has a lot to work to do. During the offseason, the front office brought in new faces to the club, but not just any new faces; they brought in youngsters. Haret Ortega, Diego Campillo, and Sebastain Perez Bouquet who would play alongside youngster Denzell Garcia. It was a surprise the front office trusted young players considering the league has been known not to favor said players. Teams would much rather bring in older, foreign players than give chances to young players, even if those said players come from their own academy. When those three players were announced, it took many by surprise, but many believed it’s just what Juárez needed. However, it’s also what most likely shot them in the foot. That’s not to say it won’t pay off in the future, but it didn’t immediately like many thought it would. The team self-destructed in the middle of the season and that’s a big issue the team will need to focus on for next season.
Juárez seemed to be the next Cinderella story, but unfortunately they weren’t meant to be. They’ve banked on young talent, which is a positive sign for the team, but the young players are still learning. Maybe next season they’ll be able to string enough victories together to get a spot in the play-in or maybe, just maybe Juárez are destined to be a bottom of the table team.