WOODY BAUM - Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Francisco Torres and Pachuca meet in a showdown with league leader Chivas de Guadalajara in a batle of the two most potent attacks in the Mexico while Herculez Gomez and Puebla try to rebound versus San Luis.
Pachuca - Chivas
Pachuca, coming off their dramatic win against Puebla on Sunday, will take on Chivas de Guadalajara this Wednesday in the Estadio Hidalgo.
It's a battle of number one versus number two as the two hottest teams this tournament will face off.
Chivas de Guadalajara, after seasons of underperformance, are finally playing up to their potential. They have been unstoppable this season, going undefeated, dominating all of their opponents and have the leading goal scorer in the tournament in Javier "El Chicharito" Hernández.
Pachuca, a perennial Mexican powerhouse, are reclaiming their spot at the top after failing to make the playoffs last tournament.
After an early setback against Querétaro in week two, Pachuca have won three straight, scoring 15 goals and becoming the tournament's most dangerous squad.
This rivalry also has a little bit of history behind it with both teams battling for the title of "Mexico's team". Pachuca has claimed for themselves the title after Brazilian legend Pele referred to them as "Mexico's team".
Chivas, the most popular team in the country, does not agree. They have met in several important encounters in the past several years.
In 2006, Pachuca kept Chivas out of the Liguilla final and that year was able to get to the Club World Cup by beating Chivas in the CONCACAF Champions League.
José Francisco Torres, who came back from an injury by scoring the winning goal against Puebla in the 85th, will most likely see plenty of minutes although the young American hasn't yet solidified his starting spot.
He and Damien Alvarez have been battling out for the starting spot and have been contributed solidly with the minutes they have played, demonstrating the embarrassment of riches on this team.
It should be an attacking, high scoring encounter as the tournament's two best teams face in battle to see who is number one.
Pachuca generally have a strong home team advantage, but Chivas have demonstrated strong play on the road so far. This could very well be the match of tournament with everything that is at stake.
Darío Cvitanich and Leobardo López will be out injured for Pachuca while Edgar Mejía and Sergio Ávila are injured for Chivas.
Puebla - San Luis
Puebla will have the opportunity to turn their season around when they face San Luis, the most scored upon team in the tournament this Wednesday night.
Both teams have been dreadful this tournament and are tied with four points apiece. Puebla has been unable to win at home this season while San Luis has been unable to play defense.
This will be an opportunity for both teams to salvage some dignity this tournament as a failure to pick up points will put either team too close to comfort to the relegation zone.
American Herculez Gomez has been a solid contributor so far this season, usually coming in as a substitute but making his impact felt in the limited minutes he has received.
He had a clear shot at goal on Sunday against Pachuca, as he beat the Pachuca defense to receive a pass alone right outside of the area, but was unable to put sufficient loft on the ball as he tried to chip it over the keeper.
He should get a great opportunity to add to his tally tomorrow night against the non-existent San Luis defense.
Alfredo Moreno (injured) and Cesar Gonzalez (suspended) will be unavailable for San Luis. Puebla looks to have its entire squad.
Atlas - Indios
Indios of Ciudad Juarez will visit Atlas, of Guadalajara, this Wednesday as they try to break their never ending winless streak, which currently stands at 22.
Indios, if they are to have any realistic chance of staying in the first division will need a win tomorrow.
Unfortunately, they will be facing a strong Atlas squad, with ninr points in this tournament, looking for revenge after having lost to the Monarchs 3-0 on Sunday.
Indios only have one goal this season, an own-goal last week against San Luis. Their season has been plagued by failed opportunities and errors.
Despite not winning, they have shown great grit and determination. Nevertheless they have been their own worst enemies.
Atlas have been perfect at home this tournament, having beat reigning champions, Monterrey, and Club America. They will look to maintain that streak as they have a chance to put the nail in Indios' coffin.
Marco Vidal has started and played the full 90 in the last four games. He has played solidly in a defensive capacity but has had little to no offensive impact thus far.
He will need to become more involved and effective in the offensive buildup if Indios are to have any chance of turning things around.
Eduado Rergis (injured), Daniel Osorno(injured), Rómulo Marques(injured), and Fabricio Fuentes(suspended) will be unavailable for Atlas. Emil Martínez(suspended) and Arturo Alvarado (suspended) will be out for Indios.
Tigres - Santos
Tigres will look to bounce back from their 1-2 clasico defeat to Monterrey last Sunday when they host Santos Laguna at the Estadio Universitario this Thursday evening.
Tigres were soundly defeated in what might have been their most important game in the classic and they will need to pick up points to maintain hopes of the Liguilla as they haven't won since week one and currently have five points in five games.
Tigres will have their hands full as they face a Santos team that has won two in a row, including an impressive home win against league powerhouse Toluca last Sunday. They now have 10 points in five games and will look to maintain their winning ways.
Edgar Castillo lost his starting job and will need to start contributing more offensively if he is to regain his spot and help Tigres win for the first time since January.
Both teams should have their full squads available.