Why Chivas Are Disappointing in Mexico's Liga MX This Season

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2013

In the current tournament, Chivas has only grabbed four points out of the 18 possible. Photo: Mexsport
In the current tournament, Chivas has only grabbed four points out of the 18 possible. Photo: Mexsport

Chivas are going through a very dark period. They currently sit 15th in the general table after six games. The club has only won once at home and has yet to take three points playing away.

Benjamin Galindo was sacked after 22 games in charge of Guadalajara. His stats are more than embarrassing: four victories, eight draws and 10 defeats.

Juan Carlos Ortega took over on August 19. However, four days after his appointment, Chivas lost again, this time to Queretaro, a squad that sits in the middle of the table.

The team has let down the fans and has been the butt of ridicule by clubs like Veracruz, which defeated Chivas 2-0 at Omnilife Stadium and tweeted a picture celebrating the victory.

#ChivitosEnPrecipicio pic.twitter.com/qH0uNBJ46U

— Tiburones Rojos (@tiburonesrojos) August 1, 2013

The only Mexican club that does not have foreign players on its squad has lost its way. This crisis is not something that happened in the blink of an eye.

In January 2012, the team was going through what had been its worst start in a tournament, having lost the first three games of the Clausura 2012. That was the tipping point for Chivas owner Jorge Vergara, who fired the then-coach Fernando Quirarte and brought in Ignacio Ambriz.

About the situation, Vergara said to Mexican media: “Quirarte received a Ferrari and handed back a VW Beetle.”

Hoping to turn things around, he also announced the hiring of Johan Cruyff, to change the style of play and mentality of the footballers for a salary that was by no means negligible ($3 to 5 million). A day after the press conference, the Sporting President, Rafael Ortega (brother of the current coach) resigned.

With Cruyff captaining the ship, Guadalajara stayed the same: unspectacular and plain. Ignacio Ambriz resigned after three months because, as Marca reported, he said “they offered me some things that I did not like and it was just that, I did not agree.” Former Chivas player Alberto Coyote was appointed interim coach.

Less than a month later, Guadalajara hired Dutch manager John Van't Schip in yet another effort to cure a very ill squad. He took Chivas to the Apertura 2012 Liguilla, but the team lost both games of the quarterfinals to Toluca.

The dream of becoming the most lethal and dynamic team of the Liga MX was not close, and the disaster was undeniable.

Chivas sacked Johan Cruyff in December 2012, a month before the Clausura 2013 started, and only nine months after he was hired as a consultant.

Even when the club assured that there were not going to be other changes, Van’t Schip’s job was not safe, and he was fired two days before the first match day of the previous tournament. That’s how Benjamin Galindo came to the picture. 

So, as you can see, this is not a problem that surfaced this tournament. This is something that has been going on for at least a year. Guadalajara needs a better leader.

Jorge Vergara needs to take care of the commercial and financial issues of Chivas rather than the sporting ones. For a team that praises itself as 100 percent Mexican, bringing foreigners does not make much sense.

Perhaps that is what the team needs, perhaps not. The idea of bringing someone as an adviser is not bad, but we have seen over and over again that people who are not involved in Mexican culture do not have good results and have a tough time with the players.

Take for instance Sven-Goran Eriksson. The man had 20 titles with several clubs before he arrived in Mexico and his win percentage with “El Tri” was 46 percent: six wins, one draw and one defeat.

Vergara needs someone who understands the players on and off the course, but also he has to let the person in charge make his own decisions and feel the responsibility of leading a team with the tradition of Chivas—the most successful club in league tournaments.

The stuff that has been going on lately is certainly tough. The club announced that Marco Fabian would not be considered for Matchday 6, as the midfielder was negotiating his transfer to a Qatari club.

That indicates how bad things are: Why else would Fabian, who has spent 15 of his 24 years in a single institution, all of a sudden decide to talk with a club from a country where football is not nearly as established as in Mexico?

After a lot of speculation, Marco announced his decision to stay with Chivas and acknowledged in a press conference that thinking of leaving the club was wrong.

So what do you think? Are Chivas close to making things better, or will they stay the same? What does the team need to get back on track?