Guadalajara played what might have been its best game of the summer … too bad it was not in a Liga MX match
Guadalajara barnstormed across the United States this summer as it debuted in the International Champions Cup tournament. The Chivas played Serie A squad Fiorentina (in Chicago), Portugal’s Benfica (in Santa Clara) and, most recently, Spain’s Atletico de Madrid (in Arlington, Texas).
There were concerns the team could hold up against another top-flight European team after bad back-to-back losses to Fiorentina (2-1) and Benfica (3-0). So when the game ended in a scoreless draw after 90 minutes, most were surprised. Atletico de Madrid went on to win in a penalty shoot-out, but the Chivas didn’t lose, and better yet, they didn’t concede a goal.
With all the turmoil surrounding coach Tomas Boy and the Chivas squad, maybe a draw could boost their confidence moving further into the Apertura 2019. The last time the Chivas won a competitive match was against Leon in April. Since then they have had disastrous defeats across the board … in Liga MX, preseason friendlies and the International Champions Cup.
Tuesday night’s performance in Arlington, Texas, offers some reason for hope. The starters Boy used played well, and the defense looked tight. The back line of Oswaldo Alanis, Miguel Ponce, Jose Van Rankin and Antonio Briseño worked well in front of goalkeeper Raul Gudiño.
The Chivas looked steady and strong versus the world-class strikers on Atletico de Madrid’s roster. Gudiño, especially stood out. The lanky goalie had numerous saves, doing a great job to keep a clean sheet.
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New central defender Antonio Briseño was a monster on the backline. He was vocal and communicated well with his line mates and making his presence felt with hard tackles. He won some key battles during the game and confidently converted his penalty during the shoot-out.
After the game, Gudiño talked about the pressure that comes with playing for the Chivas, one of the most decorated club teams in the Liga MX. The goalie is confident the team will learn from the game, saying that just lining up against top strikers like Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata was a good test.
The Chivas have finished their participation in the International Champions Cup and host the Tigres Sunday night in a Liga MX match, hoping to apply some of the lessons they learned from the Atletico de Madrid experience.
Guadalajara lost 3-0 to Santos Laguna in its Liga MX season-opener.
Atletico de Madrid continues its ICC tour in the United States and will face Real Madrid on Friday night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.