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May 7, 2014

Toluca: A team of quality vs. popularity

One of the responsibilities of a "great team" is to accept the challenges that the competition throws at them. Toluca knows this well. From owner Valentin Diez to current head coach Jose Cardozo and even to each individual wearing red: the title or anything; that's the prerogative.

- Ramos: Semifinalists: Without fear or curse - Hernandez: Five things to watch in semifinals

During the last couple of years, while leaving their mark of glory and supremacy firmly etched in history, Toluca has become tired of declaring its "greatness". A greatness they have been awarded, unlike their rivals America, Chivas and Cruz Azul, who had quite often received such a title without even being worthy of such.

Now, Toluca are the favorites, the favorites to win their eleventh championship, equaling the record of both America and Chivas as one of the top title holders in Mexican soccer. Toluca must not fail in their obligation; at the very least they must realize that they have an impetuous need to collect trophies.

Once more we return to the archives of Mexican football, the same archives we have consulted over and over again in the last couple of years. We consulted them when America could perform no more, when Cruz Azul had given up and when Chivas were falling into a pit of despair: Does Toluca have what it takes to be one of the "greats" in Mexican soccer? Not only do the stats indicate that the answer is yes, but likewise so do the skills and mentality of Toluca on the field.

Cardozo is one of many directly responsible for Toluca having recovered their potential to be a "class act" on the field, always on the lookout for that ever elusive trophy. We will have to investigate all the drama that accompanied Cardozo and his team during that fateful day, when they lost the final of the CONCACAF Champions League to Cruz Azul in "La Bombonera". Cardozo has given his team a hunger and need to be hungry for when the competition begins.

As always, the media are there to intervene, with their level of passion, which more often than not is not at the same level as that of Toluca. It is here that the Reds could be at a disadvantage. It is a difficult situation, one worth fighting for, or one in which they will advance due to the intervention from other factors and interested parties.

Toluca has their limitations regarding this issue, but that is not to say that in recent years they have not increased their fan base. With their tremendous record of wins, they have won over more and more fans, children born in the era of the goals of Cardozo, the achievements of Sinha and company and even the momentum given to them under previous head coach Enrique Meza's leadership. A winning team always remains hopeful that more and more fans will join them and support them in their fight to win the trophy.

Toluca is a "great team" because it has what it takes to be "great: A history of triumphs, achievements, heroes, epic journeys, and a hunger to lift the trophy at the end of the championship. Popularity does not equal quality and quality is much harder to find than popularity.