I am almost positive most of you reading this have been in a particular situation: a member of a lower level team playing the big boys - the JV playing the varsity, for instance. The JV is out for blood, and every so often, they pull one out. Earlier this summer, the famous "draft" saw Guadalajara send a multitude of Chivas to Queretaro on loan; 10 in total. 5 of those saw action last weekend at the Omnilife, and none of the 5 made more of an impact on the outcome than Liborio Sanchez. The goalkeeper played the game of his life to keep Chivas off the score-sheet when all they needed was a single goal to advance to the semi-finals. They never got one, and the 0-0 (2-1 agg) draw sent Chivas on an earlier than expected vacation. Meanwhile, Queretaro is still alive and kicking in their first-ever liguilla.
It was bittersweet for the player who had been part of the Chivas Institution since before he was a teenager. "It was a little sad because it was there where I became a player while spending 9 years with the club. I still belong to the club, but as a professional, I have the obligation to give it my all for Queretaro."
And just like that, the #1 seed was gone, done in by the #8 seed again. Chivas, though, gets a good consolation prize as they will be playing in the Libertadores starting early next year.
The Gallos Blancos, on the other hand, now draw Tigres, who were impressive with their 3-0 rout (4-0 agg.) of Pachuca. Monarcas Morelia, knocked out Cruz Azul for the second liguilla in a row and Santos dispatched a plucky Jaguares team who were unlucky to have drawn the green-striped Guerreros from Torreon.
My two picks for the final - gone after the first round. Shoulda known better.
Conventional wisdom says that Tigres should make the final against Santos. But conventional wisdom is a foreign concept in Mexican futbol, much like #1 seed surviving the post-season.
On a personal note, apologies for the lack of blogging over the past few months. Football season takes up most of my energy and workable hours this time of year. But now that my package is over and done, and I can re-channel my energies back into doing this on a much more regular basis. Thanks for your patience.