With C.D. Chivas de Guadalajara holding a one-goal advantage after winning the first leg of their Concacaf Champions league semifinal matchup against the New York Red Bulls, the ball is firmly in the home team’s court Tuesday night.
The Red Bulls did not have their best showing in Guadalajara, and return home needing a win by at least two goals if they are to advance to the CCL final. Jesse Marsch is more than aware of the challenge his is facing, but he also felt that first leg result was favorable.
“We chose to play direct often to try to bypass some of their pressure,” said Jesse Marsch ahead of Tuesday’s clash. “We could have been a little more opportunistic, and a little bit sharper making some plays in the final third. But against a really good Chivas team in a really tough place to play, I think only being down one goal is a good result for us. We’ll go back to Red Bull Arena and be ready to push the game there.
“If we score that goal, then we get out of here feeling really good about the result and the game went as planned.”
The Red Bulls will need to push the game without two key players as Aurelien Collin and Alex Muyl are suspended for the important match due to yellow card accumulation. Collin received two yellow cards and his marching orders during the loss in Guadalajara, and Muyl had been sitting on a yellow card since their road victory over Club Tijuana in the quarterfinals.
Discipline issues spread to both sides of the field in the first leg last week. In addition to picking up a yellow card during the match, Jair Pereira received a suspension after an incident where he put his hands on the Red Bull’s Sean Davis’ neck during a late game fracas.
Pereira’s loss would be the largest for either team. Pereira is Chivas’s captain and he played an important role in stopping the high flying Red Bulls from finding the back of the net.
Chivas head coach, Matias Almeyda, filed an appeal of the suspension citing similar violent conduct from the Red Bulls that went unpunished.
“Chivas is going to file an appeal,” said Almeyda, on Monday during a press conference at Red Bull Arena. “Yesterday when we traveled here, I saw all the images and I found it very strange that Jair was suspended only when there are players from the rival who also participate in the same action.”
Almeyda went on to suggest there may be a conspiracy against the team because of the Mexican-only player policy.
“”It is very strange because we are just the team that has only Mexicans, and that makes it uncomfortable for the team with only Mexicans to reach a final,” said Almeyda.
The winner of this match will move onto the CCL final to play the winner of the Club America versus Toronto FC series. TFC leads the series by an aggregate score of 3-1.
Should the Red Bulls advance, the opportunity for an all-MLS could help to turn the tide of public opinion toward the quality gap between Liga MX and MLS.