Chivas kick off their Apertura 2019 with tough loss

Alan Pulido watches Santos defender Hugo Rodriguez during their season-opening match in Torreon. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images)
Alan Pulido watches Santos defender Hugo Rodriguez during their season-opening match in Torreon. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /

The Chivas opened the new season by digging themselves a deeper hole in the relegation standings.

Guadalajara’s situation could not be any worse after starting the Apertura 2019 on the wrong foot. They have very little time to correct their problems and they have let much of it slip away with bad preseason performances. It showed Sunday in Torreon and now the Chivas relegation problems appear even more dramatic.

Coach Tomas Boy and company know what they are up against this Liga MX season, and there is little choice but to win every single game, a difficult task but Boy has a revamped roster. The coach spent his entire summer rearranging his squad and bringing in players to fill the holes Guadalajara had last season, while identifying players with specific skill sets to fit his tactical plans. Sunday’s display against Santos Laguna demonstrated that the players have yet to respond to Boy’s tactics, however.

In the first half, the Chivas controlled the pace of the game, making clever exchanges in advancing the ball and they appeared the more likely to score. But in minute 39, Brian Lozano took a free kick for Santos that absolutely fooled goalie Jose Antonio Rodriguez and it was 1-0 Santos.

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The hosts appeared comfortable with a 1-0 lead going into the second half, while the Chivas looked to press and probe for opportunities. Only 3 minutes after the break, Lozano took a Santos corner kick as central defender Doria moved unmarked to the near post. His header flew into the net, giving Santos a 2-0 lead. The score crushed the Chivas’ hopes, though there was still a lot of time on the clock. Despite chasing a goal to stay in the match, nothing worked and Boy’s tactical adjustments did not make an impact.

Chivas attackers Alan Pulido, Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez, Isaac Brizuela and Walter Sandoval were not heard of throughout the game, leaving Guadalajara hopeless as the clock wound down. It did not take long for Santos to create another scoring chance and Julio Furch tapped the ball into the goal at the near post with Lozano being the provider again. With a 3-0 lead at the 78-minute mark, Santos could have scored a few more goals, but they misfired a few times and goalie Rodriguez had some lucky saves.

The Chivas next game is an exhibition in the International Champions Cup versus Atletico de Madrid in Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday night and their next Liga MX match is Sunday night at home against the Tigres.

The pressure is really on the Chivas, now more then ever.