Matchday 7 delivers two classic derbies: America-Pumas in “El Clasico Capitalino” and “El Clasico Tapatio” in Guadalajara. On Saturday night, the Atlas Zorros do battle with the Guadalajara Chivas.
Mexico’s oldest derby – the Clasico Tapatio – resumes on Saturday night at the Estadio Akron outside Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco. “Tapatío” is derived from the indigenous language of Nahuatl and it refers to “a person born in Guadalajara.”
This rivalry dates to Sept. 16, 1916, and Saturday’s clash will be the 223rd time the Chivas and the Zorros battle for Jalisco bragging rights.
Neither team enters the match coming off a win, and Atlas looked rather pathetic in losing 2-1at home to lowly Puebla. The Chivas, meanwhile, staged a thrilling 3-3 tie at Necaxa, giving up the tying goal in minute 90+4.
This season finds the crosstown rivals each getting off to a good start in the Clausura 2019. The Chivas are 5th in the standings with 11 points, just one spot above the Zorros who have 10. Naturally, Atlas would like nothing better than to steal a win on the home turf of their bitter rivals and leapfrog them in the standings.
Coach José Cardozo’s Guadalajara team is on a 3-game winless streak (a 4-game winless streak if you include the 1-1 draw to second division Sonora in a Cup match on Jan. 29). The young Chivas need a win – their fans demand nothing less against Atlas – and a good home performance would be a tremendous boost to their confidence as we approach the halfway point of the season.
Cardozo has helped stabilize the back line and along with the steady play of goalie Raul Gudiño, the Chivas now have one of the league’s best defenses. The club has given up only 4 goals through 6 matches and Gudiño has four shutouts already.
Atlas will march onto the pitch at Estadio Akron with a positive outlook despite last week’s poor performance. The Zorros’ offense is much improved over last season when they scored only 11 goals in 17 games. Atlas already has 11 goals through 6 games this season.
The addition of veteran midfielder Osvaldo Martinez (3 goals) has helped coordinate the offense and captain Juan Pablo Vigón (2 goals) has benefited now that some of his on-ball responsibilities have been mitigated by “Osvaldito,” the Zorros’ midfield motor.
Argentine striker Facundo Barceló (2 goals) has also provided a new dynamic to the Atlas offense as has Jesus Isijara (3 goals scored) who came to Atlas from Santos along with Martinez.
In the aftermath of the devastating 2-1 home loss to Puebla, it is obvious that Atlas is vulnerable on defense. Their back line can be slow to react and gets in trouble if trying to defend in space. And goalie Jose Hernandez has been error-prone.
The Clasico Tapatio has been staged 222 times: 87 wins for Chivas, 69 victories for Atlas and 66 draws.