Chivas fighting to avoid setting record for futility

Javier "Chofis" Lopez (left) and Alan Pulido celebrate a Guadalajara goal against Toluca. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Javier "Chofis" Lopez (left) and Alan Pulido celebrate a Guadalajara goal against Toluca. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

A convincing win at Toluca kept Guadalajara’s season alive, put the Chivas remain on life support.

The Chivas are in danger of setting an all-time club record, but not a good one. If Guadalajara fails to qualify for the Liguilla this season, it will be the fifth straight tournament without a postseason appearance for El Rebaño Sagrado. That has never happened in the illustrious history of the Chivas.

Guadalajara stayed alive – mathematically, at least – in the playoff race by defeating Toluca on Sunday. It was the first time in eight years that the Chivas had won a game at the Estadio Nemesio Diez and the home loss knocked the Diablos out of playoff contention. But that might have only put off the inevitable for another week.

Luis Fernando Tena’s side knows it has a virtually impossible task ahead as they host third-place Queretaro on Saturday and the Gallos Blancos are one of the league’s best road teams with a 4-2-2 record away from home. The Chivas, meanwhile, have dropped three games at the Estadio Akron, posting a 3-1-3 record at home.

If Guadalajara manages to beat Queretaro and Morelia and Tijuana both lose, the Chivas’ final game will actually mean something. And they actually would be favored in that Matchday 19 game against Veracruz, the worst team in the Liga MX.

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Striker Alan Pulido and midfielder Javier “Chofis” López are the reason the Chivas can srtill dream. The duo were the stars for Guadalajara against Toluca on Sunday and they gave the Diablos fits all game.

Toluca got on the scoreboard first in minute 13 on a Felipe Pardo strike on as counter attack. The Chivas knew that anything but a win would crush their Apertura 2019 playoff dreams and they responded 20 minutes later. “Chofis” and Pulido worked a lovely give-and-go and the midfielder slotted home the equalizer.

Just four minutes later, Pulido put the Chivas in the lead with a blast that out of the reach of Toluca keeper Alfredo Talavera and inside the far post. Both teams created scoring chances as the Diablos fought to save their season. Talavera kept Tijuana in the game with a number of sparkling saves, denying Pulido and “Chofis” who continued to find room to shoot.

Finally, Pulido knocked home his 9th goal of the season in minute 77 and Guadalajara closed the door after that. The Chivas striker is now the top Mexican goal-scorer in the tournament and trails Necaxa’s Mauro Quiroga by 2 goals in the race for the scoring crown.

Twice before, Guadalajara has gone four consecutive seasons without making the playoffs (missing out after the 1972-73, 1973-74, 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, and again after the Clausura 2013, Apertura 2013, Clausura 2014 and Apertura 2014 seasons). The Chivas have not been back to the playoffs since winning it all following the Clausura 2017 season, coming up short of the Liguilla in each of the past four.