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Faitelson: No favorite in Liguilla

Liga MX 16 hours ago
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Five things we learned from Week 16

Liga MX Nov 10, 2014
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Aug 19, 2014

Chivas, Pumas and Cruz Azul against the wall

Puebla FC and U.A.N.L Tigres shared the spoils in a nervy match, which finished 1-1.

LOS ANGELES -- To the deep footballing crisis of Chivas, Pumas and Cruz Azul, you have to add another inevitable factor: that its fierce sporting rival, América, has started the tournament perfectly.

Some say that it is the lack of goals. Others say that it is a matter of character and dedication and there are those that admit point-blank that it is a matter of quality. Everybody has a point of view, but in the end nobody has the precision to say how Chivas, Pumas and Cruz Azul can leave behind their footballing crisis.

- Marshall: Liga MX Power Rankings
- Hernandez: Pumas in tailspin
- Marshall: Relegation looms for Chivas

Soccer is played by human beings, that succeed and that make mistakes, that feel and that think. From there, there is the complexity of a negative state. In the three cases there is another factor to take into account: they are media-popular teams, with which a bad or a good streak stands out more than in other situations.

The secret for Chivas, Pumas and Cruz Azul isn't in the crisis. It is in how to come out of the crisis.

After finishing with the most points in the Clausura, Mauro Formica and Cruz Azul have faltered in the Liga MX Apertura.
After finishing with the most points in the Clausura, Mauro Formica and Cruz Azul have faltered in the Liga MX Apertura.

And in Chivas, in the meantime, there is a change in the way of facing up to the storm; on Sunday, at the end of the defeat to Santos, the owner Jorge Vergara came down to the dressing room to strengthen a project and not to break one. Guadalajara, for the first time in this deep and long period of absence, is taking up a different strategy.

With regard to Pumas, it is a much deeper question than designating a coach. Names and ideas are aplenty in the horizon, what is really lacking, even during this time of "rubble", is a plan that includes a sporting director, a technical body and an appropriate relationship with respect to the production of the youth teams.

Antonio Sancho, as the vice-president and Guillermo Vázquez, as the coach, is a way of going back to their roots, to their "scents", to their natural essence. Sancho and Vázquez will require time and space to work, but Pumas already has a hope for the future.

In Cruz Azul there seems to be a squad with the sufficient quality to return to being a main team in the tournament. This same team led the previous championship with more than 30 points. The start now has been slow, with a lack of appropriate footballing conditions and with the most recurrent accusation of the last season concerning Cruz Azul: the lack of character in its footballers.

The current teams of Chivas, Pumas and Cruz Azul have many things in common: They lack goals, personality and the appropriate conditions to play soccer. Furthermore, as media-popular teams and with historical importance, they have another urgency to fight against: time.

And I would add another big problem within this picture: that the big rival of the three, América, on the contrary, has had a perfect start after five games. This is also a factor that adds pressure and makes a difference.

In summary, everything today is doing damage to Chivas, Pumas and to Cruz Azul.

@Faitelson_ESPN

David Faitelson

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.

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