Guadalajara just missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Are big changes necessary?
After a late-season collapse and a 14th-place finish, there are worries in Guadalajara, especially since the Chivas lost twice to America in a 5-day period. The first inclination when thinking what the Chivas must address this offseason might be different than other Liga MX teams, because they added a slew of talent before the start of the Clausura. The coaching staff deserves time to evaluate the squad before deciding who should be added … and cut.
Before we delve into that though, a quick recap of what’s been going on in Nuevo Tole- … I mean Guadalajara.
1.) The team owes taxes from 2010 to the tune of $20 million dollars. This is important because the Chivas might not be able to get better players this summer or even next winter.
2.) New coach Tomas Boy signed a two-year deal shortly after the season ended and his task will be to make sure the Chivas avoid relegation, the second time in the past five years that the club has face demotion concerns. Boy served as coach for the final games of the Clausura and went 1-3-0, but still earned a new contract.
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3.) Management is cool as ever despite facing relegation, and there is no anxiety evident. At this point, this is either incompetence or they are delusional. Guadalajara’s passionate fans are being let down so frequently and that is sad to see.
OK, now onto what the Chivas need to address before the Apertura 2019. I see three main things that require attention and they are defense, defense and defense.
Players that should stay
The Chivas have a young, promising keeper in Raul Gudiño who is on the preliminary Gold Cup roster for El Tri.
Center-back Hiram Mier just arrived in December and he played well, but he has to stay healthy.
Jose Carlos Van Rankin does his best at right back often moving forward to help out in attack.
Jair Pereira was injured toward the end of the season, but he had some solid performances early in the year and even donned the captain’s armband. It’s a shame coach Boy didn’t play him when he was healthy. He deserves more opportunities.
Deiter Villalpando doesn’t lose the ball when he has possession and he’s fun to watch, but he has been injured a lot lately.
Jesus Molina is a physical presence in front of the back four and is good at recovering possession. He also wore the captain’s armband which says a lot for his leadership abilities, especially since he just joined the team in December.
Alan Cervantes, Fernando Beltran and Michael Perez are younger midfielders who are a joy to watch. They are energetic, clever, and show passion for the jersey, something demanded from all Chivas.
Alexis Vega just had his best season in Liga MX in only his third year in the league. He’s progressing well after struggling to score his debut goal, finishing with 4 goals. Is he worth $9 million dollars? That question has yet to be answered, but it’s too early to say no.
Isaac Brizuela has been phenomenal on the wing finding space and finally avoiding injuries for the most part. He’s a player that attracts a lot of attention from Europe, but hopefully the Chivas don’t have to sell him.
Gael Sandoval was playing well under previous coach Jose Cardozo but regressed after Boy was appointed. He’s working his way back to a starting role and trying to earn Boy’s trust. The more confidence he has the better he plays, so look for an Apertura full of opportunities for him.
Ronaldo Cisneros deserves more playing time. If there was anyone that gave Chivas fans hope when he subbed in, it was Cisneros. He had three goals this season.
Players that should go
Left-back Miguel Ponce is a liability especially against skilled wingers.
Center-back Hedgardo Marin had some OK performances, but too often strays from his man, giving up too much space, and getting out of position. This often leads to bad tackles. The same goes for Juan Miguel Basulto.
Alejandro Mayorga is versatile and can play everywhere across the back-line. The problem is he doesn’t play anywhere particularly well.
Jesus Sanchez is a shell of his former self, missing most of the season due to injury. When he isn’t hurt, he’s a liability. He could be a decent player, just not for the Chivas.
Eduardo ‘Chofis’ Lopez is the club’s best playmaker. It feels like yesterday that he exploded into Chivas fans’ hearts on his game, scoring a brace against Monterrey in a 2-1 win. Unfortunately Chivas coaches have not had the same trust in him that the faithful does. It’s time for to quit holding him back and let him progress elsewhere. The sad part is that his limited playing time has worked against him.
Alan Pulido was the most expensive transfer ever for the Chivas; he cost $6.5 million back in 2016. But after coach Matias Almeyda left, the magic disappeared. Every season has been a disappointment, the goals just aren’t coming for him even when he plays a traditional center forward role. He loses the ball pretty easily, and though he helps defensively, the lack of production doesn’t justify his wages. He’s not the forward he was when he scored 14 goals for Tigres in 2013.
Carlos Cisneros seemed promising but that time has passed. When the Chivas need a spark in the second half and Carlos subs into the game there isn’t much hope.
Do you agree? Who should be given another opportunity to prove themselves?