Benito Juarez Olympic Stadium hosted a pair of season-opening home matches for FC Juarez over the course of the past holiday weekend. The women opened their season when they hosted Chivas on the 4th of July, meanwhile, the men hosted Atlas the following day on Friday night.

Bravos obtain first point of the season in home opener

FC Juarez played to a 2-2 draw against Atlas Friday night. The result allowed for the Bravos to obtain their first point of the 2024 Apertura season. Unfortunately for the men, they failed to maintain the one-goal lead on two occasions that would have led to a season-opening win. 

The match had plenty of highlights starting in the 32nd minute when Bravos head coach and technical director Mauricio Barbieri received a direct red card from referee Oscar Macias Romo for presumably saying something to an assistant referee.

Five minutes later the Bravos took the lead thanks to the left foot of forward Angel Zaldivar who took a shot from just outside the opposing goal box after he received the ball on a breakaway. Zaldivar placed the ball just inside of the right post to give the Bravos the lead.

The first half came to an end and the score remained 1-0. 

The first equalizer of the night for the visiting team came only four minutes into the second half when a corner kick allowed Eduardo Aguirre to toe-punch the ball into the back of the net when defenders for Bravos failed to clear the ball out of the danger zone on a couple of occasions on that play. 

The team from the Borderland regained the lead in the 72nd minute when a penalty kick was called in Juarez’s favor after a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) review. Aviles Hurtado was the man who executed the penalty kick and was able to convert, giving the Bravos the lead once again, 2-1.

The final goal of the match and the second equalizer for Atlas came in the 81st minute when Bravos defenseman Moises Mosqueda foolishly committed a foul on an opposing player, leading to a free kick. The team from Guadalajara took advantage and was able to secure the draw when Luis Reyes was able to head the ball off of the cross just inside the left post. Mosqueda was the player that got beat on the jump to head the ball first.

After the match, Atlas head coach/technical director Benat San Jose commented on the result, “Obtaining a point is always positive, particularly when you're down in the score. I feel that toward the end of the match, we were the better team. I’m proud of this team as I feel that we have had a good performance across all facets of the match.”

San Jose concluded, “It’s a positive start (to the season), and now we have to continue working to continue obtaining points.”

For FC Juarez, assistant coach Claudio Maldonado addressed the media in the post-match presser and Barbieri was not allowed to do so because of his red card. Maldonado said, “I feel that it was an even match. Both teams had their opportunities to perhaps win. We face a great team, we are aware that when we had the lead we didn’t know how to fully capitalize on that. We began to make mistakes and then they get the second equalizer off of a situation that perhaps could have been avoided entirely (alluding the Mosqueda’s senseless foul).” 

When asked about that particular play, Mosqueda’s foul, and if it was necessary Maldonado said, “It was not. We address the topic at halftime, asking the players to be very mindful about fouling the opponent around our goal box to deny them opportunities for set pieces since they are so dangerous in that aspect of the game. We understand that Mosqueda has to decide in a split second how he is going to go about the play at the moment. Mosqueda has been doing a good job for us, he finished out last season in great form. Still, he’ll have to work to continue to improve as does the entire team.”

After all the matches have been played for the opening week of the season, the Bravos find themselves right smack in the middle of the general standings table in ninth place with one point on the season. 

Up next will be a road match next Saturday night against Toluca. The match against the ‘Red Devils’ is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. MST kickoff. Toluca played Chivas de Guadalajara to a scoreless draw on Saturday night in their season opener.

Bravas lose to Chivas 1-0

FC Juarez women lost their season opener at home to Chivas de Guadalajara on Thursday night by the score of 1-0. Diana Rodriguez scored the lone goal of the match in the 31 minute off of a direct kick to was deflected by another player from Chivas, the ball found Rodriguez’ left foot that pushed the ball into the back of the net. The Bravas had their opportunities to get at least the equalizer but failed to do so. 

The Bravas also played without their star forwards Jasmine Casarez and Prisca Chilufya. Casarez is nursing an injury, while the reason for Chilufya’s absence was disclosed. Still, FC Juarez looked more than formidable in their opening 90 minutes of the season. 

Up next will be a road match at Leon on Friday, July 19th. So they will get this coming week off.         

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