The battles for animal kingdom dominance continue for Leon as they square off against Pumas this Thursday at 9:05 EST at the Nou Camp.
This week both teams are coming off of painful defeats and are striving to get back on track. Especially the reigning champions Leon, as they have been struggling all season to find any kind of consistency in their play. The team confidence was high after a good victory in week three against Morelia and even held a 2-0 lead at the half in Chiapas last week. Leon lost all its momentum in the second half and with combination of grit and the Salvador Cabanas effect, who had been visiting the team, Chiapas managed to pull off a comeback and defeat the champions 3-2.
Various publications have been labeling this current Pumas regime as being in a crisis. However, late last week manager Jose Luis Trejo confirmed to reporters that there was no crisis at the club and that they ought to be optimistic and confident things will improve. However, things did not improve and Pumas are in a struggle, especially at home, losing to a young and energetic Atlas team 1-0. Fans have been calling for the heads of Mario and Jose Luis Trejo in recent weeks as their play has not been up to par with the fans expectations.
Vice President Mario Trejo recently stated that he has no intention of negotiating a new contract and that Thursday’s game will be his last with the club. “Whatever happens I will not continue, that is for certain. My contract is expiring and I wish to not renovate it,” Vice President Trejo said.
Thursday night’s game is critical for the Jose Luis Trejo regime as it may be the last chance to sway the board of directors to continue with his project. Trejo is running out of time as his squad are sitting in 15th place with only three points out of a possible 12 - a win might not be enough to convince upper management.
Jose Luis Trejo is aware of other managers flirting with the board of directors behind the scenes in an attempt to take his place if a vacancy arose. “It is not my style to resign, a difficult challenge lies ahead and I need to move forward, I need to survive and we will achieve it,” Jose Luis Trejo said. “I have a lot of people that are looking to get my job, but that is part of this business.”
Team captain, Dario Veron, spoke to the press on Tuesday to declare that the team knows what they are capable of and that the Jose Luis Trejo is not the issue. “We are all at fault, no one here is safe. Things have not gone the way we have wanted, but we know the kind of potential we have,” Veron said. “The manager has nothing to do with it (the poor results), we are working well, and unfortunately the results are not going in our favor. We back the manager until the death.”
Leon are doing just as poorly, if not worse, than Pumas as they too have accumulated the same amount of points and sit one spot above on goal difference. The reigning champions should be doing better as they are at least playing decent football. Some struggles are understandable considering they have lost their captain Rafael Marquez to Verona of Serie A. It may take some time to adjust to life without Marquez’ defensive ability and leadership skills.
Gustavo Matosas has several options capable of filling the void left by defender Edwin Hernandez who is suspended. The likely replacement may be Luis Antonio Delgado who is the only defender who has seen any action coming off the bench this season.
Possible Starting XI:
Leon: Yarbrough, Gonzalez, Navarro, Magallon, Delgado, Vazquez, Pena, Hernandez, Rivera, Cardenas, Sabah.
Pumas: Palacios, Fuentes, Veron, Palacios, Rankin, Cabrera, Romagnoli, Cortes, Ludeuna, Sosa, Britos.