LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes in football, the simplest thing proves to be the most complex and the most complex of things can end up being the simplest: Goals. In the world of football you cannot win without goals. Both Chivas and Cruz Azul are well aware of this, seeing as neither team have managed to produce much in the way of goals on the pitch.
As the fourth matchday of Liga MX gets underway, two of the so called 'big guns' seem to be struggling to perform and give the results, which are expected of them. Despite the fact that Guadalajara have managed to accumulate four points from their two league games, their emotions are on a downer. Their joy from the triumph over Pumas, a few weeks ago, was soon dampened by their back-to-back international friendly defeats.
As for Cruz Azul, they just can't win, not in Liga MX nor in the CONCACAF Champions League. It is concerning, seeing as that they are facing a season, where on top of having to go after the long sought after title, they will also be representing their region in the Club World Cup.
So what's up with Cruz Azul? The team seems to have it all: a large and competitive squad, a winning coach, a management, that despite its apparent lack of organization, manages to put the correct pieces in the right places on the game board, and last but not least a dedicated fan base.
At first glance there seems to be a psychological issue: anxiety. If in fact it's down to that, the team seems to have players, with enough experience to resolve this issue. Christian 'Chaco' Giménez needs to feature in the lineup more often and Mariano Pavone needs to get back to the level he showed in the last couple of seasons playing for 'La Maquina'. The team also requires Joao Rojas and Mauro Formica to make better decisions at key moments, and Pablo Barrera to remain match fit.
At Chivas there appears to have been a substantial improvement in terms of how they play and generating goal opportunities. Now, the team face another problem: getting the ball into the back of the net. Omar Bravo is currently experiencing a streak of bad luck; Carlos Fierro is not at his best; Aldo de Nigris is still to find his place among the Chivas squad, and it seems that Rafael Marquez Lugo, who could also prove useful when scoring goals, may need to return to the operating table.
Hence, the responsibility of producing goals has fallen on Guadalajara midfielder Fernando Arce. And the final piece of the puzzle, Angel Reyna, one of those responsible for Guadalajara's improved midfield play, will not be available to play this weekend as a result of his own emotional instability getting him banned from this week's game.
It seems a little early to start panicking, but points lost throughout the course of the season can never be re-gained. As it stands, Cruz Azul and Chivas have a historical debt to pay to their fans, a debt that needs paying as soon as possible.
Football is a complex yet at the same time simple game. It's all about getting the ball into the back of your opponent's net, a task that certain teams and football players seem to be struggling with.
David Faitelson is one of Mexico's most popular sports journalists, having worked for TV Azteca before joining ESPN. He is based in Los Angeles and co-hosts "Nacion ESPN," ESPN Deportes' version of "SportsNation." Follow him on Twitter @Faitelson_ESPN.