The new-look Chivas welcome the Xolos to Estadio Akron in Guadalajara on Saturday night.
The standards for the Chivas entering the Clausura 2019 are high as they always are, but they are especially so because they missed out on the Liga MX playoffs in both the Clausura 2018 and the Apertura 2018.
Both teams are eager to make an impact as the Clausura 2019 gets under way.
This January, Guadalajara has seven matches – four of them at home – so what better way to kick off the Clausura 2019 of the Liga MX with a home win after a disastrous 2018 that ended with an embarrassing performance in the FIFA Club World Cup. It also hurt to watch their bitter rivals America lift the Liga MX trophy and with it move past the Chivas to claim their league-record 13th championship.
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With the departures of midfielder Orbelin Pineda (to Cruz Azul) and striker Angel Zaldivar (to Monterrey), coach Jose Saturnino Cardozo stayed busy collecting new and familiar faces many of whom could be in the starting 11 throughout the Clausura 2019. Players such as Jesús Molina, Dieter Villalpando, Tony Alfaro, Ronaldo Cisneros, Carlos Villanueva, Alejandro Mayorga (my personal favorite), Hiram Mier, Luis Madrigal and Alexis Vega are now wearing the famous red-and-white striped shirt..
The Xolos begin the Clausura 2019 with a new head coach, Oscar Pareja who comes over from MLS where he found great success with FC Dallas. Pareja has a lot of work to do to after the Xolos finished in 15th place in the Apertura 2018. In head-to-head matches, the Xolos have bested the Chivas, posting a record of 9 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses vs. Guadalajara.
The Xolos struggled to score goals last season and their only major acquisition was the return of midfielder Joe Corona from America where he was on loan. Pareja will tinker with his line-up and see if he can mix-and-match with the plethora of attackers he has available. It will definitely be a work in progress.
With the new faces expected to re-energize Club Guadalajara, and the recognition that the Chivas are “in debt” with their fans, coach Cardozo will not hold back as he seeks to take advantage of the first game of the season to earn a much-needed 3 points. The obligation is higher on Guadalajara side than