On and off the pitch heading into Matchday 4

The Chivas will have another weekend off thanks to snow and freezing temperatures in Cd. Juárez. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images)
The Chivas will have another weekend off thanks to snow and freezing temperatures in Cd. Juárez. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Matchday 4, Chivas, Montes
Chivas coach Marcelo Michel has apparently been granted greater job security. Guadalajara’s season will be considered a success simply by making the Liga MX playoffs. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

The Chivas won’t be playing this weekend as their game against FC Juárez was canceled due to snow and freezing temperatures. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make headlines.

Evidently Guadalajara has a new agreement with coach Marcelo Michel Leaño that might not sit well with the club’s long-suffering fans.

The Chivas removed the “interim” tag from Michel’s job description after the Apertura 2021 season, but the front offic declared that the callow coach would have to finish in the Top Four spots (earning a first-round playoff bye) to remain as full-time manager after the Clausura 2022.

Now, El Universal Deportes reports that the Chivas only have to qualify as a wildcard to see the manager’s contract extended. That means “El Rebaño Sagrado” could finish as low as 12th (in an 18-team league) and Michel Leaño would continue as head man in Verde Valle.

It pays to be friends with the boss

The upstart coach has the ear of owner Amaury Vergara and he has promised that by the end of 2022, Chivas will regularly have a starting line-up that features at least seven home-grown players. That sounds good to Vergara since the cash-strapped franchise can’t afford to purchase too many contracts to fill out its roster.

Currently in the Guadalajara locker room, players are talking positively about the return of prodigal son J.J. Macías whose departure from the club last summer was reportedly met with barely concealed celebrations.

Macías – a gifted striker when his mind is right – had become notorious for acting out last year as he demanded a move to Europe. His petulant, self-serving attitude impacted the team’s performance during the Guardianes 2021 and the ninth-seeded Chivas were knocked out of the Liga MX playoffs in the first round.

Now Macías is back with the club (despite his stated unwillingness to return to Liga MX) and his mates seem to be walking on eggshells, saying all the right things and encouraging J.J. to work hard and embrace the team’s goals.

It will be interesting to see how coach Michel handles the enigmatic forward who burst onto the scene as a teenager while on loan with León. For two seasons running, Macías was the top-scoring Mexican in Liga MX and was seen as a sure-fire bet to be on the El Tri World Cup roster.

Instead, the 22-year-old Guadalajara native flopped in his brief sojourn in La Liga (with Getafe) and in order to rebuild his reputation he’ll have to terrorize Liga MX defenses for a season or two. If he does that, coach Michel might have a lengthy stay on the sidelines.

Liga MX News and Notes

Monterrey defender César Montes was unable to travel to Dubai ahead of the Rayados’ Club World Cup match against Al Ahly after testing positive for Covid … again.

Montes missed Mexico’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica when he tested positive and was prohibited from traveling with the team to Kingston. The lanky back-liner tested negative a few days later and was able to anchor the El Tri defense against Costa Rica and Panama.

The 24-year-old Hermosillo native was expected to fly to the United Arab Emirates to join his Liga MX mates for the exclusive international club tournament, he tested positive again. Coach Javier Aguirre will have to adjust his defense accordingly for Saturday’s match.

This season just keeps getting tougher and tougher for Santos Laguna. Despite offloading a few stars (Diego Valdés and Juan Otero), the Guerreros were expected to be a contender. Instead, coach Pedro Caixinha has seen his team implode.

Next. Monterrey begins Club World Cup adventure. dark

And now, Santos will have to face reigning Liga MX champs Atlas without winger Ayrton Preciado who suffered a broken leg while on international duty with Ecuador during the FIFA break. Preciado is expected to miss the remainder of the Liga MX season.