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Local soccer teams hit rock bottom

February 8, 2012

Guadalajara has become the nadir of Mexican soccer. Barely three months since Chivas de Guadalajara finished top of the league table, the three Tapatio sides are in a state of disarray.

Taking a break from a painful league campaign, Chivas were held to a 1-1 home draw against Ecuadoran champions Deportivo Quito in the first round of the Copa Libertadores on Tuesday night.

The game was watched by just 9,478 spectators, a pitiful crowd for a game in Latin America’s premier club competition. The Omnilife stadium seats just under 50,000, but attendance numbers have dropped dramatically since Chivas moved from the Estadio Jalisco in the summer of 2010, largely due to a rise in ticket prices.

The few that did turn up sang insults at the players and owner Jorge Vergara. They were at least spared the ignominy of yet another defeat thanks to a 92nd minute equalizer from Omar Arellano.

Last weekend’s Clausura 2012 fixtures provided no reason to cheer for any of the Guadalajara sides. Local relegation rivals Atlas and Estudiantes Tecos played out a goalless stalemate at the Tres de Marzo stadium on Friday, leaving both teams still in danger of the drop.

Meanwhile Chivas suffered their fourth defeat in five league games, losing 2-1 at home to Morelia on Saturday evening.

Atlas remain the only local side to have chalked up a win so far this season. With five games played apiece, Atlas have five points, Tecos have two and Chivas are rock bottom with a solitary point.

It was a slightly better weekend for former Chivas forward Carlos Vela, who scored for Real Sociedad against Barcelona – who are widely considered the best side in the world – in a 2-1 defeat in Spain last Saturday.

A prominent member of Mexico’s Under-17 World Cup winning side in 2005, Vela has struggled in the English Premier League since moving from Guadalajara to Arsenal later that year.

He has been loaned out on four occasions and now seems more settled in Spain’s La Liga. “I would like to stay at Real,” he said this week. “I am happy here and people are happy with me.”

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