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“Crónica de un Fracaso Anunciado:” Pumas part ways with coach Rafael Puente Jr.

In news that should surprise nobody, Pumas have fired their head coach.

Mazatlan FC v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images

In news that should surprise nobody, Pumas have decided to fire coach Rafael Puente Jr after their loss to Pachuca by a 2-0 score. Pumas currently sit 16th out of 18 and could’ve sunk down to 17th depending had Queretaro defeated FC Juárez last night. The move isn’t surprising to fans who didn’t expect Puente to succeed after coming off lackluster performances in Querétaro and Atlas, and whose confidence by management was so low that he was only on a 6-month contract, which he couldn’t even finish.

Andres Lillini had great seasons under Pumas, including reaching a final, but after losing the CONCACAF Champions League (the first time a Liga MX team didn’t win the tournament since 2005 when oddly enough, Pumas lost to Saprissa) and a terrible Apertura 2022 that had the team out of all postseason action, meant his tenure with Pumas had come to an end. With a couple of names being mentioned, many fans thought it was a joke when rumors came that there were talks between Pumas and Rafael Puente Jr. The young head coach came from a bad stint in Atlas, where he had a record losing streak and hadn’t coached since. Fans also made fun of his very poor playing career as well as his tenure after retiring as an actor. In the end, with rumors saying he was the least costly option, Rafael Puente Jr. became Pumas’ coach on a 6-month contract, meaning it was just one season. Doom went through most Pumas fans with the fact they’d taken a step back from Lillini and most had lowered their expectations for the season.

While Puente Jr. had a win in his debut, Pumas had a huge scandal rock the team when Dani Alves was arrested in Spain over an accusation of sexual assault, where he’s still behind bars. Pumas would lose against Santos, but get their best win in Puente’s tenure by crushing Leon by a 4-1 score. Two draws, including one at home against Atlas where they were down to 10 players, had the team still in the running, but then the losses started piling up. They ended a streak of winless away games after defeating Mazatlán FC, but that would be their final win under Puente as Pumas’ play worsened and they just kept losing.

It all came to an end on Sunday as Pumas got their 6th red card of the season, causing another loss. Puente’s tenure was indefensible, and his appointment s head coach was a move that should have been clear was a bad idea from the start, something fans did know. Management will have to take a deep look at themselves and consider whether they should join Puente in the unemployment line because many of the problems the club have aren’t Puente and his staff’s fault alone.