The numbers behind Wednesday's Chivas vs. Morelia Copa MX final
The Copa MX has often been regarded as a second-tier tournament by many, with almost every club fielding reserve squads to test out formations and give young players experience. After all, the Liga MX title is the prize all teams seek.
Chivas are no exception, but the fact that Mexico's most popular team reaches its fourth Copa MX final in the past five seasons gives the tournament added flavor. Last season, Chivas met scrappy Queretaro in the final and lost. On Wednesday, they face relegation-threatened Morelia.
They've met 13 times in the tournament's history, five times in knockout stage, with Chivas holding the upper hand on both.
Winning isn't easy
Guadalajara is used to the spotlight, sitting as the all-time leader with 12 Copa MX final appearances, and is one trophy away from tying city rival Atlas as the fourth-most-successful team in the competition. But the road wasn't always smooth. It's also lost the most finals (eight), including the first five it played when it was called the Copa Mexico.
Chivas fell to Veracruz in 1947-48 and then twice to Atlante between 1950-52, first in a final and then finishing second in a final group. Once again, Guadalajara lost in consecutive finals in 1953-55 to arch rival Club America before finally getting back at Atlante by winning it in 1962-63.
That elusive title came during the club's most successful time, the Campeonisimo era, when it won eight league titles in a 14-year span. Its other titles were in 1969-70 vs. Torreon and, most recently, in the 2015 Apertura at Leon.
Guadalajara and Morelia are no strangers in the Copa MX, having faced each other 13 times. Their first meeting was in the 1957-58 quarterfinals, when Morelia advanced 4-2 on aggregate. They'd meet in the same instance a year later, but that time Chivas prevailed 8-3 on aggregate.
Guadalajara eliminated Morelia two more times in the round of 16 (1960-61 and the 2016 Apertura), and Morelia returned the favor, advancing in the 1964-65 semifinals before ultimately losing to Club America in its first-ever final.
Guadalajara, though, has won four of the past five meetings in the tournament, including the past two.
Stability on the bench
Ever since Jorge Vergara took ownership of the club in 2002, Guadalajara has been a revolving door of coaches. But current manager Matias Almeyda has changed that.
The club found the structure it lacked. Chivas' record with Almeyda is 41-20-26 in all competitions, which means they have won 47 percent of their matches. Almeyda aims for his fifth career title and third in four seasons with Chivas. That's already more than in the previous 10 years combined for the club.
Finally a home-field advantage
Guadalajara's luxurious new stadium in the city of Zapopan wasn't always so colorful. The team won just two games there in its first season in the 2010 Apertura. Chivas owned a 37-35-41 home Liga MX record at Estadio Chivas prior to the 2017 Clausura. But this season, the team has won 16 of 21 points there in league play.
It currently carries a nine-game home unbeaten streak between cup and league play, including three straight wins. The last time it won more than that on home soil was between March and April 2015 (five straight).
Chivas have won two of their past three meetings at home vs. Morelia. Before that, Guadalajara had five losses, two draws and zero wins against La Monarquia. On Wednesday, Almeyda's team will look to add another win and another trophy to its mantle.