Two storied clubs in a downward spiral

Posted by Ciro Procuna

Refugio Ruiz/Getty ImagesFans have not been packing Chivas de Guadalajara's Omnilife Stadium as in prior seasons.

MEXICO CITY -- It saddens me to see clubs with such history and tradition ruin their reputations, straying far from their essence and their own particular hallmarks. Empty stadiums, boring games, and players who barely deserve to wear their jerseys (with just a few exceptions).

On Friday Chivas celebrated their tie against Monarcas in Morelia as if they had qualified for the playoffs. It is true that they didn't deserve to lose, and that they had the upper hand in the second half; however, they have had a pathetic tournament. They are 17th in the rankings and 14th in the relegation table. Dropping down is a real danger for Chivas, just around the corner.

At Guadalajara, it is clear that there is neither leadership nor players who can take charge. The players called upon to do so simply don't take on the role, because they are unable to, and also because they don't want to. A player who is also a leader must be an example on and off the field, a certain starter; he should be a team veteran and bleed the team colors.

This leader must have the character to challenge undisciplined teammates, to support new young players, to be an extension of the coach on the field. Who on Chivas can or wants to take on this role? Nobody. Disappointing.

Where did the Pumas lose their traditional claws? Now anyone can turn up at the Olimpico Universitario stadium at midday, with the Mexico City altitude, and win or tie against them. I remember how they used to daze their opponents with their speed, that the stadium used to be thronged with spectators, that foreign players were standouts and the academy players longed for a chance to play. What happened?

At last there was money to sign players and they brought in Robin Ramirez who has scored 3 goals in 28 games, and Ariel Nahuelpan who has scored 2 in the tournament so far. Now they've put next season's planning in the hands of Jose Luis Trejo, a coach who has lost twice the amount of games he has won from Apertura 2006 to the present (19 won, and 38 lost with Tigres, Necaxa, Morelia, Tecos, Puebla, San Luis, and now Pumas). This is how they plan to turn things around?

I'm sorry to see Chivas and Pumas far from the top spots, but I'm even sorrier to see no solutions on the horizon, not even some kind of short term answer. I hope I'm wrong.

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