Bravos de FC Juarez has settled in over the course of their last half dozen matches and have become one of the hottest teams in Mexican soccer. Out of the last 18 points (6 matches) contested by the Bravos they have obtained 13 points. The acquisition of these points brings their total to 15 points on the season (four wins, three draws, six losses), currently good enough for 10th place in the general standings table.

What changed?

After losing five of their first seven matches of the season, obtaining only two points as a result of two draws, the diligent process of improvement under the tutelage of head coach, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti is starting to show.

This happened despite the Bravos losing key players due to injury in the early part of the season. Some for an extended period of time, others for the entire season.

Still, the turnaround started with the emergence of order and discipline of the Bravos defensive line. This is the biggest improvement noted in the team from the Borderland thus far. Playing with a lot more confidence and security in the defensive line has allowed FC Juarez to press forward more and open up the attack.

Late acquisitions at the deadline have helped.

The late acquisitions of three players have made a significant difference in the improvement of FC Juarez, especially in the offensive third of the field of play.

Forwards Diego Rolan and Pedro Raul have given the offensive punch that the Bravos desperately needed after it was announced that Dario Lezcano would be out all season due to injury, then shortly thereafter another forward Gabriel Fernandez would also get injured.

FC Juarez.
FC Juarez.

The midfield was also reinforced with the arrival of Fernando Marques known as “Fernandinho”. The Brazilian midfielder has added a spark to midfield that has allowed for the increase of number of threats and chances created on goal.

Still need improvement between the ears.

The most impressive thing about these last six matches where the Bravos have righted the ship is the teams they have defeated. FC Juarez defeated the two previous champions of Mexican soccer, Cruz Azul and Leon. They also defeated Monterrey, the team with the biggest payroll in Liga MX and a team that was in second place when these two teams faced each other a couple of weeks ago.

Yet in the same span of those six games, the Bravos lost to Mazatlan and tied to Queretaro, teams that are below them in the general standings table.

It seems that FC Juarez has their best performances against the best teams in the league, but produces clunkers against inferior competition. This is probably one of the most frustrating elements that remain and need to be corrected for the Bravos.

Last Friday at home against Queretaro, playing with a one-man advantage since the 19th minute because a red card was awarded to a player from Queretaro, the Bravos played to a scoreless draw. Queretaro was in next to last place in the standings going into the match.

A completely unacceptable result considering the circumstances for FC Juarez.

What’s next?

The Bravos will now look to a Sunday road match against Pumas. While Pumas is historically one of the four biggest teams in Mexico soccer, Pumas is currently in next to last place in the standings with only eight points as a result of only one win, five draws and five losses.

It will be interesting to see what kind of mental approach the Bravos take to facing Pumas. Will they see the powerhouse institution, one of the most respected teams in Mexican soccer and produce an amazing performance with an amazing result? Or will they play to the level of one of the bottom dwellers of the standings table and put themselves in danger to lose?

Sunday’s match is scheduled to kickoff at 11am and will be televised on Univision and TUDN.

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