Guadalajara hopes Gael Sandoval rediscovers his form, while Jose Antonio Rodriguez returns to the Chivas aiming to become the No. 1 goalie.
The Chivas have been busy since the Clausura 2019 ended, bringing back goalie Jose Antonio Rodriguez to compete with Raul Gudiño, and trying to boost the confidence of key players on their current roster, like Gael Sandoval.
Sandoval showed promise at Santos Laguna, even earning a tryout with AS Roma after the Guerreros played a few exhibition games in Italy in March 2013. He was only 17 then. He then played with Santos’ Under-20 team, then spent a year on loan with Juarez in second division before returning to Santos and winning the Liga MX rookie of the year award for 2016-2017. Six months later, the Chivas acquired Sandoval, but it has mostly been a downward spiral.
The 23-year-old winger’s time in Guadalajara parallels the Chivas’ performances since he arrived ahead of the Clausura 2018 season – a few ups, but mostly downs. He played one season under Matias Almeyda, then Jose Cardozo came on board before getting fired in late March. Now Tomas Boy is in charge.
Sandoval failed to win the confidence of any of his coaches, and in the Clausura 2019 he saw action in only nine games, starting just four of them. Overall, he has scored a measly five goals with the Chivas in Liga MX matches.
This prolonged slump is a concern for the Chivas as they hoped to get the “rookie-of-the-year” version of Sandoval, when he was among the league leaders in assists during the Apertura 2017. His glory days at Santos seem like the distant past, and Chivas fans have yet to witness that potential he showed just a few years ago. It would be a shame if the Chivas were unable to squeeze some value out of the still-young player and the Apertura 2019 might be his final chance.
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As for the rest of the roster, the Chivas are likely to be active. Coach Boy has stated clearly that “quality and quantity is badly needed on the roster.”
Rodriguez is coming off a great tournament with Lobos BUAP where he was the undisputed starter in goal. Pepe Toño was on loan to the Puebla team, so it did not cost Guadalajara a dime to claim him. During his career with the Chivas, the goalie has been loaned out on several occasions – to Veracruz (2011-2012) where he made his first division debut, to Leon (Clausura 2017), to Tijuana (Apertura 2017) and then to Lobos BUAP.
Now he is back home determined to make history with Guadalajara. Rodriguez started 32 of 34 games for the Lobos over the 2018-2019 season. The addition of Rodriguez, 26, could improve the Chivas’s goalkeeping situation if only be stirring up real competition with incumbent Raul Gudiño, 23. After three brief stints as Guadalajara’s first-choice goalie (Apertura 2014, Clausura 2016 and Clausura 2018), Rodriguez will be eager to wrest the starting spot from Gudiño and hang onto it.