Guadalajara did not impress in its Apertura 2019 opener against a Santos Laguna team that missed the playoffs last season.
Guadalajara was battered 0-3 by Santos Sunday night and, simply put, Tomas Boy was outclassed. Choosing to be conservative, the Chivas coach utilized a defensive midfield duo of captain Jesus Molina and Michael Perez, while stationing Walter Sandoval and Isaac Brizuela out wide to provide support up front for Chofis Lopez and Alan Pulido.
It seemed at times that Guadalajara players were running chaotically like some pick-up game without a practice beforehand. Sandoval was sliding too deep down the left side and Molina wasn’t able to get a decent pass to him all night. Brizuela tried to be creative, but at times he was taking on four defenders trying to do too much on his own.
The Chivas had little presence in midfield though they defended decently through the first 45. In the second half, Santos got organized and found spaces left and right. The goalkeeping was horrendous and the fact they chose Jose Antonio Rodriguez over the young and immensely talented Raul Gudiño reflects poorly on coach Boy. Pulido lacked power in his shots and took most of them from absurd areas of the field, Santos keep Jonathan Orozco feeling no pressure for much of the game.
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Counting this Liga MX opener and International Champions Cup games, the Chivas have lost five games and have only mustered 2 goals, none of which were accredited to Chivas players (they were own goals). The ICC matches are just preseason games (though they are against European teams), but Guadalajara has not looked competitive in any of them, except against Florentina.
It’s alarming that the Chivas would rather earn extra press coverage and drive jersey sales for Puma by playing in the ICC in the United States rather than focusing on their season opener. The squad is stretched thin, and playing two games in 24 hours (an alternate Chivas team played Benfica in Santa Clara, California, on Saturday) when the players aren’t in midseason form seems fruitless. The only reason they are in the ICC is because they are not competing for any trophies (i.e., the Champions Cup or anything along those lines).
Otherwise they might have opted out as seemingly every other Liga MX team did.
This is very reminiscent of the relegation situation in 2015 when team president Nestor de la Torre was fired and Matias Almeyda came in to save the day, taking the Chivas to various finals and winning them. The scary part though is there is no Almeyda to coach the Chivas this time, just a team that has never been demoted looking down the barrel of relegation. Things will proceed as normal until Boy is fired, most likely before Matchday 5. Guadalajara will scramble to find another mediocre coach and maybe make the Liguilla as an 8th seed, but that’s an optimistic take.
Guadalajara needs an overhaul, but what that consists of only a few people know. The club isn’t doing right by its fans and it shows. The charade can only go on for so much longer before the wheels fall off, people are exposed, and life changes are made. The darkness isn’t as bright as it used to be. Whatever happens from here on only God knows.