MIAMI — CD Guadalajara’s match on Wednesday against FC Barcelona is the last chance for the Mexican giants to make an impression in the Herbalife World Football Challenge, and they’re not holding anything back.
A day before their match, Chivas manager José Luis Real said that he will put out his starting XI against the European champions. In the soccer world, it’s the equivalent of telling the opposition you’re not afraid of them.
“[Against Barcelona], it’ll be the same team that played against Jaguares and against Atlante,” he said.
Chivas has opened with two victories to open the Mexican Priméra División Apertura season and they line up using a 4-4-2 formation: Luis Míchel — Miguel Ángel Ponce, Mario de Luna, Johnny Magallón, Omar Esparza — Edgar Mejía, Patricio Araujo, Xavier Báez, Alberto Medina — Marco Fabián, Omar Arellano.
Despite their flying start in league play, the Rojiblancos haven't been as unlucky in WFC competition, falling to Real Madrid and Juventus. Guadalajara currently sit in last place on the table.
After arriving in Miami on Monday night, Guadalajara went out to Sun Life Stadium — where they will face Barcelona on Wednesday (8 pm ET; ESPN2, Galavisión) — to train on the pitch.
Wednesday is a regular matchday in the Mexican league season, with a full slate of matches followed by another round of games this coming weekend. Chivas’ midweek match at newly promoted Club Tijuana was moved to September 2 to allow them to face Barcelona before facing Pumas UNAM at home on Saturday in league action.
Despite the wear and tear the players have taken over the last couple of weeks, flying between midweek World Football Challenge matches in the US to weekend league matches in Mexico, Real looks at the WFC tilts as opportunities to measure themselves against others and improve their level of play, and as great experience for the young players on the team.
“For Guadalajara, this is normal,” he said. “We always have the Libertadores, the [CONCACAF Champions League] or friendlies. For us, this isn’t uncommon.
“We’ve been lucky because in 15 days we’ve had the chance of playing three of the best teams in the world: Real Madrid, Juventus and now Barcelona,” added Real. “We know we have a big challenge ahead — Barcelona deserve our admiration and respect — but we have to do all we can to give a good show and to win.”
Reynoso back in training
Real revealed that his central defender, Magallón, could miss the Barcelona match because of a muscle strain. However, veteran defender Héctor Reynoso seems ready to step in after participating in an intrasquad scrimmage at Tuesday morning’s practice.
Reynoso, a Mexican national team defender, suffered a strained adductor in his left leg against in World Football Challenge match against Real Madrid and has sat out practice the last 10 days.