With so many teams on the cusp of either qualifying or falling out of the upcoming playoffs, this weekend presented some truly make or break games. Both Monterrey and Pumas, sitting on that cusp, had difficult road games to face. They both would have been better off never getting on the bus.
Pumas took the trip down to Tuxtla Gutierrez to face the, always dangerous, Jaguares of Chiapas. They were promptly humiliated 4-0 by the home team. Pumas seemed surprised that they actually needed to play a match on Saturday. They were wearing uniforms, but that is just about the only sign that they would be playing. Perhaps, they were there for a photo shoot. Now, I may be exaggerating a bit. They did look dangerous for the first ten minutes of the match. However, this is most likely related to the fact that a Pumas midfielder elbowed Ishmael Funtes's nose so fiercely that he was forced to the sideline to receive treatment on his bloody face. Pumas did look like a team willing to play while having a man advantage. This look was fleeting. After the ten minute mark, with even sides, Chiapas poured on the pressure. Jackson Martinez and Edgar Andrade each scored, with Martinez getting another from the penalty spot, within the next 18 minutes. Pumas now down 3-0 at the 30' mark crawled back in to their shells and resorted to merely arguing with the officials. It was ugly all around for Pumas, but Chiapas needs to get a lot of credit. There is no team in the Primera Division who looks as complete as the Jaguares right now.
Monterrey didn't fare much better. They also found a way to suffer a 4-0 defeat; this one at the hands of Pachuca. While Monterrey did not match the utter lack of drive that Pumas displayed, they failed to look as if they ever had any hope of gaining a point from this match. They seemed to be working hard and nearly equaled Pachuca in shots and corners. Yet, they just aren't very good. It's hard to find something to point to with this team. They seemed to play to their potential. It's just that their potential takes them to a 4-0 loss at Pachuca. Sorry, Monterrey.
Both Pumas and Monterrey will return home this weekend for their final match. Both teams will face opponents that they should be able to handle (Tijuana and Atlante, respectively). Both teams are going to need points in the hopes of securing a spot in the playoffs.