FC Juarez faced Atletico San Luis on Friday in what would be a test to see which team was an actual contender for Liguilla contention in the Clausura 2020.
For San Luis, it meant continuing their good form at home. For Juarez, it meant proving they could three points away from home against a quality opponent. That is exactly what Los Bravos were able to prove. The past weeks Juarez Head Coach Gabriel Caballero had decided to play with three holding midfielders due to the absence of Diego Rolan.
This transformed Juarez into a defensive-oriented team that separated itself from the style of play that had given them a historic start. This style of play was clearly responsible for Juarez’s lack of form. Using this gameplan they tied at Monterrey and lost 2-1 at home to Santos. In the last 25 minutes of the Santos match, Caballero elected to go back to the style of play that was responsible for Juarez’s success this season.
Three minutes after going back to this style of play Juarez tied the match. The rapid success shown amongst the team during the game when going back to that style of play is what made Caballero go with the starting XI he went with for San Luis. We saw the same backline start with Jimenez, Velasquez, Romo, and Olivera. This time he went with two holding midfielders which were Jefferson Intriago and Martin Rabuñal. Joaquin Esquivel did not start because he had been in Mexico City the whole week training with the Olympic qualifying squad.
The major change for Juarez saw Flavio Santos return to the starting lineup. Santos is currently basking in great form, he has scored 4 goals in the last three matches he’s played in. The attacking portion saw Angelo Sagal on one wing with Mauro Fernandez in the other. Dario Lezcano as always served as the point man.
The first half was extremely stringent with most play being determined in the midfield. Juarez would dominate possession but then San Luis would come back. An up and down contest. Entering the 30th minute it was visible that Juarez got into a groove. It was clear that it was only a matter of time before Los Bravos opened the scoring.
Bruno Romo opened up the scoring for Juarez on a rebound off a corner kick. After this Flavio Santos headed in a ball that was left to play by San Luis’ goalkeeper. The major contribution to that goal was Lezcano putting the shot on goal. On those types of plays from that distance that is what you are trying to do.
Juarez was able to take advantage of the costly error. Juarez’s third goal came from a very impressive play that shows Los Bravos’ commitment to attacking quickly off of a loose ball. Maxi Olivera held the ball in the wing as pressure grew. Once he saw San Luis pressure and move up their lines, he chipped it behind their center-backs where Lezcano was able to provide the deafening blow in the match. Juarez was able to take control of the match in 13 minutes.
The second half made San Luis become attack-oriented in hopes of securing a draw at the least. This change of play from San Luis saw Juarez become more defensive. Los Bravos were lucky in many instances by being saved by the woodwork. Ivan Vasquez also had a critical save on a header. The second half was dominated by San Luis but this shouldn’t be a cause of worry for FC Juarez fans.
Caballero did not park the bus early like he used to and returned to the style of play that was responsible for the recent success. Flavio Santos expulsion saw Juarez park the bus but this was around the 75th minute. Overall this is a GREAT result for Juarez. A point away from home is golden but three points and complete control taste like some tacos in the streets of Juarez, simply amazing.
FC Juarez’s mascot is a horse, un bravo. Like a horse, Juarez has been resilient and courageous throughout the whole season. Liguilla is certainly in play for Juarez as well as Copa MX aspirations. Los Bravos is playing quality football. If they continue their form in Liga MX they can precisely become their mascot. Los Bravos de Juarez can become the dark horse candidate for Clausura 2020. Arriba Juarez!