Chivas was eliminated from the 2023 Leagues Cup after losing 1-0 against Sporting Kansas City. Sporting KC was the better side overall, and the score might have been too flattering for a Chivas side who gave an embarrassing performance. Chivas failed to step up to a KC side that wanted it more, and who in the second half failed to do much with the ball even when they were given the ball as KC sat back on defense. Chivas will now return to Mexico and wait for Liga MX to return to action, while other Mexican sides play in the knockout stages.
The first half started with both teams needing the result to go through. Early on, Victor Guzman got off a right footed shot from outside the area that went just wide. After a tackle from Antonio Briseño brought down Tim Leibold, the ball fell to a KC player who shot it wide. Although there looked to be a possible penalty, after going to VAR nothing was given. After a great combination play, Gadi Kinda got a clear one-on-one play and got off a left footed shot that Chivas’ goalkeeper Jose Rangel brilliantly stopped, then allowing Jesus Orozco to come in and clear the ball. A cross into the the area was missed by a KC player trying to bicycle kick in the ball, but it then fell into the path of Johnny Russell, who got off a strong left footed shot past Rangel to score and give KC the 1-0 lead. The lead was deserving, as the home side had been the better side. A free kick from Russell then went wide. Kansas City continued to pass the ball around as Chivas just sat back and watched them in a terrible display from the Liga MX leader. The halftime whistle blew as Chivas gave a pathetic performance in the first 45 minutes.
The second half started with Chivas needing to improve and fast. Chivas subbed out Alexis Vega for Jose Brigido. Sporting KC subbed out Felipe Gutierrez for Roger Espinoza. The changes didn’t change things, as KC kept dominating the match. Chivas subbed out Erick Gutierrez and Victor Guzman for Pavel Perez and Yael Padilla. Chivas tried to be more offensive, but KC was well placed on the pitch and Chivas had no ideas to counter that. A cross by Roberto Alvarado turned into a shot that was easily saved by Sporting’s goalkeeper John Pulskamp. KC subbed out Khiry Shelton for Daniel Salloi, while Chivas subbed out Alan Mozo and Ricardo Marin for Isaac Brizuela and Ronaldo Cisneros. Salloi got off a right footed shot that was saved by Rangel. Then a cross into the area was cleared just off the head of Cisneros. Off a corner kick, Briseño rose to get a header that went just wide. A cross into the area ended with Diebold getting kicked in the face by a KC teammate and needing medical attention. The final whistle blew, and Chivas ended with a loss and a terrible display that ended their Leagues Cup campaign.
Chivas came into the Leagues Cup tournament as the first place team in Liga MX, the only side in the league to win their three matches. They also defeated a La Liga team at home in a friendly when they got a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in Guadalajara. Yet Chivas will leave as the biggest disappointment, with two losses that send them back to Mexico. After a 3-1 loss in their opener against Cincinnati FC, Chivas needed to get a victory against Sporting KC to go through. Chivas was however outclassed for most of the match, and barely made a dent against KC, who played great in the first half and then sat back in the second. Still Chivas didn’t do much at all even when given the ball, as they looked totally out of ideas. A lot of the criticism will go on players like Alexis Vega and Erick Gutierrez, who both were awful, but even when they got subbed out Chivas didn’t improve. It’s a very well deserved elimination, as Chivas becomes the only “big” Mexican team to not make it to the knockout stage of the Leagues Cup and will now have to wait for the tournament to end to return to action.