FOX Soccer Exclusive
Chivas coach Galindo must get results
Benjamin Galindo entered his second stint with CD Guadalajara armed with a series of excuses to explain away a stuttering start to his tenure.
The former Mexico midfielder assumed control from John van't Schip four days before Chivas hosted Toluca in its opening match of the Clausura. He had no time to build or form his own team. He opened the campaign without top scorer Rafael Márquez Lugo. And he operated under the auspices of a chaotic front office setup incapable of setting a stable direction for the club.
All of those factors – plus a difficult fixture list to start the season and the usual dose of chaos for a club usually ravaged by discord – ensured the results met those rather low expectations. Two points from three matches still represents a poor return for a club with Chivas' resources.
Sunday night's 1-1 draw with Cruz Azul offered little in the way of immediate encouragement. Márquez Lugo returned from his left knee complaint to score a wonderful goal shortly before halftime, but his acrobatic finish marked the high point in this stalemate against the nine-man side. Aside from a Marco Fabián opportunity somehow wasted shortly after the equalizer, Chivas looked unlikely to add to that haul.
La Maquina enjoyed the better of the play and the better of the opportunities. Javier Orozco somehow conspired to miss from close range after neat work in the buildup early in the first half, but he atoned with a header a few minutes later to equalize. Mariano Pavone should have restored the lead at least once in the second half without somehow converting in front of goal. Nicolás Bertolo's harsh dismissal for a second bookable offense – procured when the referee interpreted a likely penalty award as a piece of simulation – underscored the notion that Cruz Azul might have collected all three points on another day.
The reprieve permitted the home side to pick up a second consecutive home draw as Galindo attempts to sort out his side for the matches ahead. It isn't a brief beyond the capabilities of a seasoned squad capable of claiming a place in the Liguilla.
Talent isn't a particular concern at Estadio Omnilife even if other sides may possess more of it. Miguel Sabah's imminent return from a two-match ban will finally allow him to revive his partnership with Marquez Lugo. Fabián could drop into a midfield ably marshaled by Jorge Enríquez and Luis Pérez. Veteran center back Héctor Reynoso provides the bedrock for a rearguard capable of improvement in front of Luis Michel.
With the quality of the options available among the playing staff and the significant demands attached to managing one of the country's two largest clubs (particularly with the other giant currently sitting atop the table), Galindo won't enjoy an abundance of time to correct matters.
The former Santos Laguna manager deserves some latitude for this opening period with Márquez Lugo injured and Sabah suspended, but he must now steer Chivas back on track in fairly short order despite playing three of the next four matches away from home. If Galindo fails to rectify matters quickly, then he must face increasing scrutiny without the luxury of pointing to external factors as one of the sources of his misfortune.
Around Liga MX – Jornada 3
Club América, Club Tijuana and Tigres remained atop the table by extending their unblemished runs to three matches. América garnered most of the headlines with a 4-0 home thrashing of bottom side Atlante on Saturday. Tigres (1-0 win over Atlas on Saturday night courtesy of an Emanuel Villa goal seven minutes before halftime) and Tijuana (2-1 victory at Pumas on Sunday afternoon) took care of their own assignments to ensure all three sides ended the weekend on nine points.
Surprise package Querétaro and perennial powers Toluca joined Cruz Azul in the chasing pack four points behind the leaders. Gallos Blancos left Atlas in the relegation place for the next few days by notching a 1-1 draw at 10-man Pachuca. Toluca registered its first victory of the Clausura when Lucas Silva struck at the near post after 77 minutes to secure a 2-1 victory at reeling Club León.
Morelia sits on four points with five other sides in midtable after a 2-1 victory over San Luis. Puebla and Santos Laguna ended up in this gaggle after Luis Noriega nodded home William Paredes' free kick in second half stoppage time to lift Puebla to a 2-1 home victory. Monterrey also landed in this group after squandering Aldo de Nigris' opener after 15 minutes in a 1-1 draw at struggling Jaguares.
Kyle McCarthy writes about the beautiful game for FOX Soccer, the Boston Herald and several other publications. Follow him on Twitter @kylejmccarthy.