La Tribu Scalps Another Giant

Indios Goalkeeper, Cirilo Saucedo gives
his goal posts a little positive reinforcement

Indios de Ciudad Juarez held off a spirited, but unlucky effort from the defending Champions Toluca to advance to the semi finals of the Mexican Liguilla, 1-0 on aggregate. The prize for these cinderellas del Rio Bravo is a date with yet another Goliath: #1 seed Pachuca . Tuzos beware!

The first two rounds of the Mexican Liguilla are weighted toward the higher seed, in the sense that all they have to do to advance is get a tie on aggregate. In other words, all the chorizeros had to do yesterday was get the one goal. They missed it every way possible: great saves, over-eager skying, whiffs, and the brutal honesty of the woodwork. In the end, though, it was the white-clad boys from Juarez who left la bombonera with a chance to live another day. Indios’ cautious approach was understandable yesterday: Toluca had not lost at home all season, it was played in the midday heat, and Toluca ’s altitude is even higher than Mexico City ’s. On the other hand, Toluca ’s tentative play in the first leg did nothing but make believers out of their opponents. A curious strategy against a team that already has nothing to lose.

Indios will now play Pachuca , who did not make the same mistake as Toluca in their first leg vs. Jaguares. They took the initiative in Chiapas from the start, and walked out of the jungle with a nearly insurmountable 3-1 win. Their 2-0 win at la bella airosa sealed a 5-1 aggregate win. Pachuca has no reason to underestimate Indios, who at one point were their “minor league” team. On paper this should be no contest. The Mexican media seem to love contesting games on paper. If it were up to them, teams would win on reputation alone and are incredulous when the supposed underdog scrapes out a win. I don’t think Pachuca will take Indios lightly at all, but I do think Indios will give Pachuca a 180 minute headache.

The other semi final pits Puebla against my Pumas. The former knocked off Monterrey , 5-3, on aggregate after a 2-2 tie in the Sultán del Norte. I heard an interview with Jose Luis Sánchez Solá last week on the radio. Chel