Toothless Chivas Guadalajara slide further into relegation trouble

It'd be a mistake to pin Chivas' 1-0 defeat on the road to Monterrey solely on the shoulders of Fernando Arce.

The midfielder made a catastrophic pass in midfield that allowed Humberto Suazo to swoop in and square the ball to Dorlan Pabon, who netted the winner for Los Rayados in the 59th minute. It was a horrendous error at odds with a player who has built a successful career for club and country on consistency.

But as much as 34-year-old Arce will beat himself up about the mistake, the real problem at Chivas continues to lie in the final third.

Chivas played better than Monterrey over the 90 minutes. They shaded possession, shots and created the more obvious chances. The finishing touch, however, was once again missing, with the Omar Bravo-Carlos Fierro strike partnership failing to produce.

In the 21st minute, a slick passing move involving Nestor Vidrio and Bravo sent David Toledo free down the right inside the area. His low cross was good, but there was no one on the end of it and Monterrey cleared.

Seven minutes after halftime, Fierro went through on goal after a superb pass from Israel Castro, but dallied with the finish, allowing Colombian defender Stefan Medina to steal in and tackle. It was indication of the low confidence of Chivas' strikers, although Fierro was generally solid in his all-around play.

The two opportunities seemed to define Chivas' evening.

Coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre fielded another unambitious lineup for the game from round eight of matches that was suspended on Sept. 13 due to inclement weather, with Fernando Arce on the left of midfield, Toledo on the right and Israel Castro alongside Patricio Araujo (who replaced the injured Jorge Enriquez) in the holding roles.

It's difficult to blame De la Torre after solid 0-0 ties against America and Tigres over the past couple of weeks, and the team did look reasonably solid in defense. It's just if you play that way, strikers have to be efficient at the other end of the pitch.

De la Torre said it would be a long, hard struggle when he took over last month, and so far he has been proven right. The former national team coach is without a win in his first six games back, and Chivas have now gone 11 games in all competitions without victory. Guadalajara has not scored in 250 minutes of play, and although the quality on the field has improved, even De la Torre can't have imagined the situation would be this bad.

Put simply, the unthinkable prospect of relegation for arguably Mexico's biggest club remains not just realistic, but a strong possibility if Chivas can't turn the situation around.