MEXICO CITY -- Keeping an old habit alive, the management of Tecos has dropped the ax only nine games into the Clausura 2008 tournament.
One more time, the Leaño family has displayed its customary impatience towards the coach du jour, just as it has occurred throughout the 33 years in which their team has played in the country's top league.
They axed down Jaime Ordiales for winning only 4 out of 18 possible points in the last six games (after a 1-1 against Necaxa), and they already have José Luis Trejo lined up for his debut as head coach.
With this decision, the high command concedes its own bad choice: before the beginning of the tournament they forced César Luis Menotti out and opted for Ordiales, by then a mere aide to "El Flaco". And from 2000 to this date they have shown the door to almost a dozen head coaches.
Ordiales is not to blame. In time, he could become a capable coach, but it is obvious that this is not the right moment for him, because right now Tecos needs spunk, experience to steer them clear of the danger of losing their top league status, and instead of style they need someone to strengthen their team.
However, beware of this: Trejo has already been a champion in Mexican soccer, but in the last few years he has not received that patience that the university's management is lacking. Neither Tigres nor Necaxa nor Morelia have given him that. Let's see, then, how does the "Keiser" manage from now on.
NO CONECTION AT ALL
All kinds of terms have been used to try to reflect the situation of América. From the "they have reached the bottom" that they got when they tied their historic low mark of four consecutive defeats, to the "now they have REALLY reached the bottom" of the ninth game, in which they raked up their fifth loss. And while president Guillermo Cañedo White takes the easy way out by blaming the players, they still perform at their lowest possible level in the field, losing the form and the points, while Rubén Omar Romano goes crazy searching for a way to clean up the house.
The Argentine coach did not receive a healthy team, and working in such an unstable terrain does not help either. For the first time since he got to the nest, he had an entire week to prepare for the duel against San Luis. And on Sunday at the Aztec Stadium, it seemed as if everything was working out after that goal scored by defender Óscar Rojas. But as the gladiators pressed on, the Eagles once again displayed their weaknesses, that feeble mentality of seeing themselves as lesser persons. It was evident that among the players there is no logical connection between legs, confidence and enjoyment for the game of soccer. That's the reason for the 2-1 defeat. There is something within that roster that Romano has been unable to decipher. We hope he does crack the code, because he is still blameless for all the problems that plague the team.
THE MACHINE, WITH FIVE STRAIGHT WINS
May all Cruz Azul fans enjoy it. After a long time, The Machine has its best streak ever: five undefeated games. Best of all, those 3 points they wrestled away from champion Atlante in Cancun were undisputable. With a good ball treatment, with a hard focus and patience, they achieved the much-desired win led by the steady hand of Markarian.
Potros, on the other hand, are the flipside of that coin, with five straight winless games, and with Clemente Ovalle out for the next game due to five accumulated yellow cards.
With both draws and victories, many of them achieved by playing great football, Chivas maintains its undefeated status and leads the tournament since its start. No team has taken their right to be the best, even though Toluca (whom they defeated 1-0) has fought hard to earn that right. Of course, the red-and-white have not been exempt of some ups and downs during a game or two, but in general they comply with the requisite of being likable and winning all the time.
WHAT A GAME!
Puebla vs Santos has had all the required ingredients to be fun while the same time putting the folks on the stands of Cuauhtémoc Stadium on the verge of collapse. The strongest against the weakest, the team with the best roster in Mexican football against the most humble one, the one facing a life-or-death situation every week.
Santos scored the first two goals of the game with extreme confidence, but Puebla tied the game and at the 89th minute the visiting team scored its third goal to take the lead. But the thrills were not over, as Bola González scored the final 3-3 with its second personal goal.
The even score prevented the team coached by Chelís Sánchez Solá
From dropping to the last position in the percentage board, still occupied by Veracruz (1.0638).
If there is something that really bothers a coach is to see its team give out goals stemming from still-ball plays. In the northern classic, Ricardo la Volpe went crazy when he say defender Jose Rivas scoring twice with headers against Monterrey after two corner shots.
It is apparently less damaging receiving a goal due to the inventiveness and ingenuity of a player than getting it after a defending error in the small box.
And the winner of the classic '86 was Manuel Lapuente (3-2, at the Tecnológico) whom thus stays undefeated at the helm of Tigres with two draws and two victories.
Players on the rise:
1.- José Rivas, defender for Tigres. Injuries and bad luck have plagued him. He is remembered for an autoscore in his team's worst moment. But the 24 years-old Veracruz native wants another chance. He tries not to be just another player who is good only to defend. He jumped on the attack and in two occasions has scored in the classic game.
2.- Jaime Lozano, midfielder for Cruz Azul. He seems to be catching up with that rhythm he was best known for during his best years with Pumas. The great goal he scored against Atlante had everything he has as a soccer player: vision, strength and quality. His last goal was also scored against Atlante six months ago.
3.- Hernán Cristante, goalkeeper for Toluca. Beyond this defeat, he faced Chivas alone many times with the "Devils". His interventions, based on his good placement in the field, were an important factor to avoid important goals by his rivals.
4.- Eduardo Coudet, midfielder for San Luis. He is becoming the leader he has always been, and is displaying his peculiar vision of the field. An assist from him to Octavio Valdez through the right ended in goal.
5.- Álvaro González, forward for Puebla. He never gives up. He continues to be the most trusted man on his team. He never falls short, even when facing the best teams in the tournament. He scored twice against Santos, but was unable to score once more.
Players on free fall:
1.- Rafael Márquez Lugo, forward for Tecos. He continues to look like a rookie, when his resume in soccer is already extended. At this level it is inadmissible to see him fail in front of the goal, and especially in penalty situations. He lacks poise at crucial moments.
2.- Moisés Muñoz, goalkeeper for Morelia. His teammates and himself have done the best: withstand Pumas' attack again and again. But in a few minutes he lost the play and let the goal wide open for Francisco Palencia to score at will.
3.- Miguel Calero, goalkeeper for Pachuca. In a moment of lost focus he misplaced a ball that belonged to him, because the shot was not strong enough, and Claudio Graf took advantage of it to score for Veracruz.
4.- Denis Caniza, defender for Cruz Azul. In spite of his experience, he lost focus for a moment. He lost the ball outside the area in front of Gabriel Pereyra and the Argentine striker cashed in with an opportune goal.
5.- Felipe Baloy, defender for Monterrey. He cannot be blamed exclusively for the three goals scored against Tigres, but he did not expose himself as the conductor of the defensive line that he is supposed to be. A bad rejection from his defense and two shots from the corner exposed his backline, with three goals scored against them.