This is an interesting one.
Toluca, who have a six-point lead over Pumas in the league table, should be the easy favorites — especially at home.
And yet, Pumas do have a chance here.
They recently shook off some of their early-season rust and are playing better than what their league standing dictates.
With Toluca slipping in the last few weeks, we could be in for an upset here.
It’s a bit of a risk, but Pumas can earn the upset result of the Liga MX weekend.
|Toluca vs Pumas Information|
|Teams||Toluca vs Pumas|
|Location||Estadio Nemesio Diez (Toluca, Mexico)|
|Time||Sunday, August 29th at 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN|
It’s fascinating to see how Pumas have finally put an end to their winless streak that wasn’t broken until last week.
Once arguably the worst team in Liga MX, Pumas were outstanding in their 2-0 win over Puebla during Week 6.
They created a number of dangerous chances, they were defensively solid with their tackles and interceptions, and in the final third, they scored twice for the first time this season.
The foundations have been there, it was just a matter of discovering them. They also have promising young talents that should be making a name for themselves week in and week out.
Perhaps inspired by the rumors of manager Andres Lillini being fired — or due to the fan protests that broke out last week — Pumas finally looked like a well-structured side in their latest win.
It’s good news for those supporters who have grown impatient, and it’s even better news for their star striker who might feel much more reassured after scoring against Puebla.
After finding the back of the net through a penalty in the 81st minute, Pumas striker Juan Dinenno became overwhelmed by his emotions and appeared to be crying tears of joy.
The goal was not only his first of the season but also his first since April of this year.
Before scoring, it was obvious to see the frustration in his face with each missed opportunity this season. It appeared to be impacting his productivity as he failed to capitalize on chances.
And then came the penalty.
There’s something to be said about strikers who need a goal to lift weight off their shoulders, and with that now removed, the highly-skilled forward could begin to score on a more frequent basis.
It’s not just the fact that they haven’t won their last three games, it’s also the manner in which those three have played out.
During last Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Atlas, Toluca gave away more shots on target and possession to their opponents.
Were it not for a late penalty being saved, Toluca could have also easily lost the match.
In their previous outing, a 2-2 draw with Mazatlan, they let a lead escape twice after going up 1-0 and later 2-1.
Before that, their 4-0 loss to Cruz Azul, is fairly self-explanatory.
This isn’t the same Toluca we saw during the first few weeks of the season, and up against a resurgent Pumas, they may earn another defeat.
They only have one loss in their last four games in all competitions, their focal point in attack has finally scored, and in net, vocal leader Alfredo Talavera is back from injury.
Optimism is growing for Pumas, and with Talavera back in the mix, Pumas could find a way to immediately turn this into an exciting tournament.
As long as they continue to play the same decisive and energetic soccer seen in their latest win, Pumas should have no excuses against Toluca this Sunday.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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