Chivas spices up Mexican League

MEXICO CITY -- Chivas is usually associated with joy, intense collective effort and well-played soccer, but also about passion and nerves.

That is why, after four weeks, they lead the 2008 Clausura Tournament with 10 points, three more than their closest pursuers (Toluca, America and Atlante).

We could say that Chivas has had a bit of luck, but they have also have shown accuracy (lead the league with 12 goals), fearsome spirit and tactical order guided by Coach Efrain Flores. We saw it on the derby against Atlas, when they scored their first goal at the beginning of the game and the second by the end, shutting off Atlas' offensive power and earning their fourth consecutive victory on a regional derby.

Chivas has not been a marvel like one could think, however, they have been the best so far. Congratulations to their fans; they have made a nice choice. But this is only the beginning. They need to be consistent to stay on top.

The Potros are faring better. They rapidly forgot their loss against Tecos in Cancun (ending their unbeaten streak at home) with a nice victory over Morelia (2-0), also at home.

Little by little, they are getting back to the shape they showed last year. Gabriel Pereyra took control of the midfield and Giancarlo Maldonado and Hobitt Bermudez did their thing on top.

For the sake of the league, it is nice to see Atlante's unlimited effort and nice ball touching.

On the other hand, the Monarcas lost its second game in a row. After receiving eight goals and scoring none in that period, how much will they stand David Patino?

Miguel "Piojo" Herrera had a clear objective in mind before facing Universitario: earn a victory so as to position Veracruz better and reduce Tigres' advantage on the relegation table. But he did not consider Puebla was going to beat Jaguares in Chiapas and invert their situation on the table.

Even though Veracruz defeated Universitario, they fell to the bottom of the relegation table due to Puebla's mathematical advantage on it. But if Tigres continues losing this way, they will soon fell under Veracruz or Puebla. Will the front office allow this without taking any action?

Veracruz played a lot better than Tigres, showing guts and a nice tactical plan. Herrera clearly beat Tolo Gallego on this one. His team pressured when it was necessary, without losing its order.

Chelis Sanchez Sola, Puebla's coach, also fared well in Chiapas, beating one of Lavolpe's best pupils, Rene Isidoro Garcia. Goalkeeper Villapando had a solid game.

Monterrey played better, but Pumas took advantage of its scoring opportunities and its rival defensive failures. Tuca Ferreti's team had the confidence to break the tie and got its first victory of the season.

We are getting used to see Tigres lose. Tolo Gallego has had excellent results with other teams, but had not fared well here.

Toluca suffered a rare defeat in San Luis (2-0). They dominated the game, but could not break San Luis lock after falling behind. Their own defensive failures allowed the Devils to score the second goal and send them home empty handed.

Cruz Azul keeps its inconsistency. After thrashing San Luis (4-0) last week, they could not translate in goals their field domination and lost 2-0 to Necaxa.


1.- Omar Bravo, forward, Chivas.
He is staring to shut up the critics, especially those of Jorge Vergara. Bravo usually starts slow, but ends up scoring lots of goals. He scored twice on the derby against Atlas.

2.- Salvador Cabanas, forward, America.
He is America's best player. He never gives anything for granted near the box. His moves always hurt the opponent.

3.- Adrian Martinez, goalkeeper, San Luis.
He had a huge game against Toluca, vocally leading the defense and closing the goal.

4.- Jorge Villalpando, goalkeeper, Puebla.
He showed why he is a member of the under-23 national team. He made great saves against Jaguares and is earning more confidence game after game.

5.- Gabriel Pereyra, midfielder, Atlante.
He once again took control of the midfield for the defending champs, leaving behind the injury that hurt him during last playoffs.

6.- Nestor Vidrio, defender, Atlas.
He is young and new in the league, but he is playing very well for Atlas. He was one of the best players of the derby against Chivas.

Losing stock:
1.- Mario Ruiz, defender, Tigres.
He had an awful game on Saturday. One of his fouls led to a penalty kick and he had influence on Veracruz's third goal.

2.- Cesareo Victorino, midfielder, Veracruz.
With his team defeating Tigres, he faked a foul and got a red card. Veracruz cannot allow this behavior.

3.- Horacio Cervantes, defender, Morelia.
He gave up a penalty kick on the 11th minute, wasting his team's plan.

4.- Francisco Fonseca, forward, Tigres.
After leading his team a couple weeks ago, his level suddenly went down. Something is wrong with him.

5.- Antonio Sancho, midfielder, Tigres.
With all the experience he has, Sancho should not lose his head the way he did against Veracruz. Tigres paid his red card with a loss.