Goats of Our Lives – Season Preview
I look forward to the start of the season — which is officially today although for most of us it won’t be till Sunday — because it allows us all to now focus on what’s important: the actual sport of futbol.
“Gracias a Chivas comen muchos” – Matias Almeyda
That famous line said by Matias Almeyda has never rang truer than this off-season where Chivas headlines dominated for better or for worse. Let’s take a look at some of the things published in the last few weeks that range from the ridiculous to the flat out false.
– Rumors of a broken locker room led by an unhappy Omar Bravo.
– Michel Vazquez breaks his silence to proclaim he was not treated fairly at the club when it came time to divide up player bonuses.
– Chivas TV is an affront to Mexico’s poor and an attack on the middle class.
– Chivas is in dire financial straits and has lost sponsorships as a result of heading to an online only platform.
– Chivas’ jersey is the equivalent cost of 30 kilos of avocados (in other words, it’s expensive).
– Omar Bravo left out of the back door without so much as a thank you.
Honorable Mention: Atlas’ friendly against Newell’s drew 6.5 million viewers and Chivas’ SupercopaMX match didn’t.
Just when I thought I could ignore everything I had been reading, this happens:
Let’s make one thing clear, Ruso Brailovsky was trolling Jose Luis Higuera hard with the tired and self-righteous “Chivas es del pueblo, the service should be free” non-starter. However, Higuera reacted about as poorly as you would expect by dropping the ol’ “Jews are good at business” stereotype bomb. You could only shake your head in disapproval and hope he takes some serious time away from interviews. It’s disappointing that an exec in 2016 — someone who is tasked to be the face and voice of the club — could be so woefully unprepared and tactless when speaking to the media.
So, while a lot of people comen de Chivas, sometimes the bite they take is justified.
Looking Ahead to Sunday and Beyond
Now that Omar Bravo has left the club for North Carolina’s Railhawks of the NASL, Chivas’ transfers are complete and the roster is finalized (with some replacements coming up from fuerzas basicas to cover for those departing for the Olympics).
Here’s my prediction for Sunday’s lineup against Pumas
It’s not an entirely difficult prediction since this is the lineup that played against Veracruz, however, we should continue to expect Gallito Vazquez to eventually supplant Carlos Salcido in the starting lineup. I wouldn’t even rule it out happening this very week but we’ll see.
As we all know, the Rio Olympics are right around the corner and with it go 4 of Chivas’ players: Marco Bueno, Carlos Cisneros, Michael Perez, and Carlos Salcedo.
Players for the Olympics will depart on the 24th of July and, if all goes well for Mexico’s U23s, they won’t be back until after the final which is scheduled to be played on August 20th.
Here are the matches Olympic call-ups will be available or unavailable for depending on how far Mexico gets in the tournament:
Jornada 1 at Pumas – Available
Jornada 2 vs Monterrey – Available
Jornada 3 at Tijuana – Not Available
Jornada 4 vs Queretaro – Not Available
Jornada 5 at Santos – Potentially Not Available (Olympic Quarterfinals/Semifinals)
Jornada 6 vs Atlas – Potentially Not Available (Olympic Final)
Jornada 7 at America – Available
That’s potentially up to 4 matches where Chivas will have to get by on limited depth and it includes a clasico against Atlas so let’s hope they don’t get bit by the injury bug.
Chivas’ midfield is arguably the best in the league with the addition of Gallito and I say that in all seriousness. We know Orbelin Pineda is a star, watching him play in person last weekend solidified that stance as he just looks a cut above everyone else. I know Gullit Peña isn’t to everyone’s liking but he continues to prove people wrong. He is a tank in the midfield and his teammates seek him out so he’s gonna be just fine.
On to what everyone’s biggest concern is: striker. I didn’t expect Marco Bueno to win the starting spot in preseason and with him being out for the Olympics, that leaves Angel Zaldivar as the sole proprietor of the starting job. 22 year-old Miguel Nuño will likely practice with the first team and dress for matches as a potential sub until Bueno gets back. I don’t know much about Nuño but I have read good things for what it’s worth.
The biggest worry is where Chivas’ goals are gonna come from and to that I say go look at last season. Even without a lethal 9 Chivas still was only 3 goals shy of clubs like Tigres and Leon and was only slightly more effective. Zaldivar’s selfless profile fits well within Almeyda’s scheme where he plays just good enough with his back to the goal, pulls defenders to create space for teammates, and unselfishly looks for an open teammate instead of an ill-advised shot. Does he have things he can improve? Absolutely. Maybe this season he’ll get a little more selfish and take some of those shot at goal I just mentioned instead of passing them up. Maybe instead of making a run to create space for a teammate, he can do so to beat his man for a clear path to goal. He can do a lot of things, but what he did last season just works.
— Daniel Pérez (@dpm_7) July 13, 2016
Chivas surged to a 5th place finish last season after going winless almost half of it. A few breaks here and there and they would’ve finished much higher which is why I’m predicting Chivas will finish 3rd with roughly 29 points. My predictions are fairly terrible but I don’t care, I like guessing things.
Breakout Player of the Season: Javier Eduardo ‘Chofis’ Lopez.
Where is he gonna start? Over Brizuela? Nah. Maybe on the left? Nah, Matias likes his wide men to play inside-out. Hmmm.
Surprise of the Season: Carlos Cisneros keeping his job over the more proven Nestor Calderon.
Everyone and their mom think Calderon is gonna bench Cisneros but I think he’s gonna make a big jump in his development.
What Deal Did You Make With The Devil of the Season: Jesus Enrique ‘Chapo’ Sanchez
What have you done Chapo? And who did you do it to? What pact did you sign that enabled you to send Raul ‘Dedos’ Lopez into a depression to win back a job and look good doing it. I don’t know what you did, but I’m scared to find out.
The wait’s over. After a crushing blow in the playoffs losing to the hated ones, I couldn’t wait for a new season to start and here it is. Relegation is a thing of the past and I truly believe that this coach with this roster can compete for a title so I’m anxious to see what’s in store not only on the field but off it as well with a whole new way to watch Chivas home matches in Mexico. The Chivas TV project is wildly ambitious but I strongly believe that its weaknesses will be overlooked if the product on the field is worth watching. And this current Chivas team is definitely worth watching.