MIAMI — For Guadalajara, it’s been two straight weeks of travel between Mexico and the US to partake in midweek World Football Challenge matches and weekend Mexican Primera Divisón tilts.
Chivas are, as any other team would understandably be, fatigued from all the back-and-forth journeys, but a big WFC match against FC Barcelona on Wednesday (8 pm ET; ESPN2, Galavisión) has their adrenaline pumping and the players are motivated to put on a good show.
“To face the world’s best team is always motivating,” said Chivas defender Johnny Magallón (above, right). “To know that, in front of you, you have big international figures, one of the best managers in the world, no one can take that unique experience away from you and you’ll always carry that with you.”
Guadalajara have faced Barcelona on three previous occasions on US soil during the Blaugrana’s North American tours. In 2006, the two sides played to a draw in Los Angeles. They followed that up with a 2008 match in Chicago in which Barcelona ran away with a 5-2 win. Most recently, in 2009, Chivas again played Barcelona to a 1-1 draw, this time in San Francisco.
For defender Héctor Reynoso (above, left), the key for Guadalajara to beat Barcelona doesn’t lie in changing their formation or gameplan, but rather in staying true to their style and simply upping their efforts.
“We won’t change our style,” he said. “We know we’ll be facing a team that moves well on the pitch, that we have to communicate well on defense, but on offense, we have to take more risks, show the soccer that has paid dividends.”
After their midweek WFC matches against Real Madrid and Juventus, on July 20 and July 28, respectively, the Rojiblancos pulled weekend wins against Atlante and Jaguares to start their league campaign in hot fashion.
The team hopes that their match against Barcelona on Wednesday leads to similar results, as Chivas have a match against defending champions Pumas UNAM – who knocked Guadalajara out of the Clausura 2011 playoffs in the semifinals – to look forward to on Saturday.
“We’re going to take [the match against Barcelona] as a very demanding, high-level training session, and we’ll look for the win,” said Reynoso. “We’ll be watching what Pumas do [the felines have a league match against Monterrey on Wednesday], and I think this game is a tool to help us close out a good week against Pumas.”