“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time' is like saying 'I don't want to’”.
- Lao Tzu
“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it, and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one”.
- George Harrison
Saturday evening futbol. Chivas vs Monterrey. Hanging with my eldest son, Santiago. We have prepared the patio with libations and snacks. A seat is taken. The match is discussed. We both agree that we can expect both teams to provide us with a more than decent spectacle. Earlier in the afternoon, Marcelo, my youngest son said, “Chivas is going to win”. My reply was “No lo se Rick, tengo otros datos”.
La Pandilla was on a 3 game winning streak. Guadalajara still on the mend, slowly showing improvement. The match started off well, as expected. El Rebaño Sagrado a bit off guard, unused to playing a 5-4-1. And Rayados? They were what sparked me to question what the heck was going on on the field. At some point during the first half, mid-way through la tercera chela, I have to admit I had a WTF moment.
Chivas came out obviously expecting a very offensively minded opponent, explaining the 5 man defensive line, mid field packed tightly, and a solitary Antuna, ready to break the ranks with his speed and agility. Monterrey stood on the pitch as it usually does, 4–4–2. The only differences were in the names of those present. I thought this is going to be our advantage. The different names in the same positions. It was obvious that it would be easy to break the lines, because te regio team playing with its bench is a power beast not to be tampered with.
My WTF moment came when I noticed that La Pandilla, solid in all its lines, insistent in its pressing and elegant in its distribution, incisive in its attack, was waiting. It was waiting to turn the VUCECHIVATACTIC against us! They expected to catch us by surprise and counter. Now, most teams play us in that way, “let Chivas do the circulating and all the ground work” they wait for the mistake they hope will come, and again hope, to take advantage, bust through the lines and score.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Eres tu Mohamed? Counterstrike? Most certainly, and undeniably, unnecessary. One of the best teams in the league playing the “mosca muerta”. Well “el que peca paga”, papi.
The goal which put them one up came off a place shot, which, BTW, is how the majority of goals have been scored by Monterrey this season. Penalty shots close to or outside the area. Aviles Hurtado, rose up, nicked the ball just enough for it to gather more momentum (Physics 101) and speed past Gudiño’s outstretched left arm. I would almost dare to say that Raul was able to get a fingernail on it, that’s how close he was to finding it.
Alas, it was not to be. The first half found us 1 nil down at the half. We had 45 minutes to play catch up. But pieces needed to be rearranged on the chessboard. We no longer needed the 5–4–1. Monterrey was pressing, but hey, TOP 3 DEFENSE. They would have to dig down deep to get past our defenders and as I mentioned before, attacking and wrapping the game up was not on the priority list. Not losing was. So funny. Monterrey. LOL
Almaguer, the Boss & Co., talked it over during half time and a new plan was put into effect. The team had stuck to its guns in the first half, but had been ineffective. Time to pull the stops and let the boys do their magic.
The Red and Whites walked back on the pitch with a different mindset. The plans had changed. Almaguer got the pieces ready and Chivas began to bide its time. Vucetich had spoken and As Yul Brenner said in Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments, “So let it be written, so let it be done”.
“Pa’ pronto es tarde”. Almaguer, started the gradual movement of pieces and it took about half of the second half to do so. To have put all the changes in at once would have created an imbalance within the lines. This had to be done with finesse.
Time had become a factor but the truth is we witnessed art in the making. Vucetich’s response to the initial set up proffered by Mohamed in the first 45 minutes, took Almaguer 30 minutes to set up and just 10 to come to fruition. The result was worth the wait.
Ten minutes of magic. Ten minutes of total, inexorable play. Ten minutes, of perfect futbol. Chivas flipped the table on Rayados and buried the game. It was now El Rebaño Sagrado which were solid in all its lines, insistent in its pressing and elegant in its distribution, incisive in its attack. Such an attack. Monterrey didn’t know what hit them.
Angulo for Sanchez, Molina for Zaldivar, Briseño for Peralta, Beltran for Torres. The changes came in quick succession from the 52nd minute to 79th. Twenty seven minutes it took to bait the trap.
Minute 80, the Cone-Antuna express press down the right, bank pass past the defenders. In the clear, Antuna lifts his head and chips a ball into the small area to where 'Chelo' Zaldivar, stumbling manages to twist in mid-air, cual acrobata del Cirque, stretching out all his length to softly, almost elegantly, tip his header just right of Hugo Gonzalez, who didn’t even try for it. ‘Chelo’’s first goal of the season. The motor for what was to come. One down. All tied. I went to get another chelodia.
The second was a work of art. Three minutes and 20 seconds later the 'Vega Effect' made its appearance. Se los platico. After a series of rebounds Alexis picks up a ball on the right just outside the area grande and lets loose a poem. UN POEMA LES DIGO!!! My eldest and I roared out in ecstasy!!! Such a ball! Such a shot!!! A right footed poem, skirted between the legs of two defenders and flashed past Gonzalez who tried this time, vainly, to stop the projectile from the obus. He is a great goalie, but he is only human afterall and that shot was other-worldly.
Every Sundae needs a Cherry and we got it in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. Angulo, off the bench, hooked up with on fire Antuna, who slipped the ball between three defenders, 'Canelo' controlled brilliantly, chipped his shot towards the crossbar, Gonzalez had managed to get a glove on it, but it wasn’t enough, Angulo fielded the rebound and slammed the ball into the net.
The mystics teach that time is something created by man to direct our actions and give us objectivity and focus, they teach that the awareness of time is an unnecessary burden, and as such should be discarded. The “objective” they say is to live in the moment. To focus on the now and not on the past or what is coming. For ten minutes Vuce’s team lived for the moment. Ten minutes of magic. If Guadalajara can find that ‘magic’ of living in the ‘now’ more often and make it last longer, nothing will stop us.
As it is, Chivas is not perfect and we know that. But we are getting there. We are getting there right when we need perfection. We are getting there in the ‘now’, so step up Necaxa cause we have something for you.