Positive point for Chivas vs. Pumas, but more required

Posted by Tom Marshall

Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty ImagesMiguel Sabah of Chivas, left, battles with Pumas midfielder Martin Romagnoli during Sunday's 1-1 draw.

The fact that this Chivas squad isn't the deepest in the Liga MX won't be a surprise to most. Comparing the talent of the America or Tigres benches to that of Chivas during this Clausura tournament leaves the Guadalajara club looking more than a little short.

So when Hector Reynoso, Marco Fabian and Luis Perez all failed to make the game against Pumas through injury, it looked like it was time to start worrying about the prospect of salvaging anything from Sunday's game at the Ciudad Universitaria.

In the end though, Chivas fought well in spite of the absentees and were good value for a hard-earned point in the 1-1 tie. It may have been the 15th draw between the teams in 17 games, but no draw away against Pumas in the CU is a bad result, especially with the players Chivas had missing. That's now eight games undefeated for Benjamin Galindo's Chivas and when Fabian, in particular, returns, his presence and form should be enough to lift the club into the playoff positions. Certainly, the team has shown enough fight in recent weeks to view the rest of the season in positive light.

The irony of Sunday's game was that while Chivas finished with a team featuring four players 20 or under on the field, it was the player with most Chivas appearances, 33-year-old veteran goalkeeper and captain Luis Michel, who made the crucial mistake to let in Martin Bravo to open the scoring.

It was difficult to know what Michel was thinking or why he was completely stranded and so far out of his goal. But with the amount of crucial saves Michel has made this season, you have to put the mistake down to a one-off moment of madness. With midfielder Luis Perez still out of contention for the game, Jorge Enriquez was expected to step up to the plate, but was one of the negatives coming out of the game for the Rojiblancos. He didn't have the impact that he is capable of. Whether it is a shortage of confidence or a lingering problem in the background, Chivas are missing that dynamic mix of destruction and creation that 'Chaton' brings to the table when he is on his game.

The fact that he was brought off before the hour mark to make way for debutant Raul Lopez says a lot. Coach Galindo has already shown he can play hardball with Enriquez and everything points to the central midfielder making his way onto the subs bench when Perez returns.

Lopez's introduction was the sixth league debut this season that Galindo has handed a youth teamer. That is a remarkable statistic in an era when money is pouring into the Liga MX and big spending clubs find it increasingly difficult to hand young players the first team experience they need to develop -- see league leaders Tigres, in particular, for an example of that.

For Chivas, the balance in the squad seems to be much better than one year ago. The purchases of Miguel Sabah and Rafael Marquez Lugo bring the experience that makes it much easier to slowly bleed in younger players, rather than throw them into the cauldron too earlier, like what happened with Erick Torres when Chicharito left.

But that all comes with a caveat: While the amount of debuts is something to be proud of in Guadalajara, Sunday's game and absentees showed that the squad is still one or two players short of going to away games like Pumas, Puebla and Morelia and being confident of taking the three points, not just the one.

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