By Dylan Butler
Trailing Guatemalan side Xelaju by four points in Group 8 with two matches remaining, Guadalajara needs at least a draw against DirecTV W Connection Wednesday night at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad.
A repeat of its 4-0 win in Guadalajara on August 29 against a side that already is eliminated would be welcomed, but regardless, it will need to win the October 25 game against Xelaju to advance.
Complicating Wednesday's task are injury problems.
Chivas, which has won one of its two matches so far, will be without forward Omar Arellano, who has aggravated a muscle tear in his left thigh originally suffered in late August. He returned against Leon on the September 14, but is now out for at least four weeks.
Midfielder Marco Fabian fell when fouled against Leon and is out three weeks with a separated left shoulder.
Additionally, forward Carlos Fierro hopefully will return to training this week after a bout of hepatitis; defender Christian Perez has a torn quad muscle in his right leg and is finishing his third week of rehab; midfielder Giovani Hernandez is recovering from a fracture in his left foot suffered in the preseason; and defender Juan Ocampo is expected to miss another month after fracturing his right elbow a little over two months ago.
Also missing the match against W Connection is Miguel Ponce, who is serving a one-game suspension, and possibly Rafael Marquez Lugo, who left Sunday's 0-0 draw against Pumas with a bruised thigh.
"It's a team that has personnel problems…Fabian won't play, neither will Arellano, Fierro, and now Márquez," Chivas coach John Van't Schip said. "After the first half (on Sunday), based on the attitude with which they are playing, I am happy, but we should get better to play the game that we want to play. We should get better, but the personnel problem is noticeable. Some players aren't there but the team has played a good match with the right attitude."
With Seattle already having claimed Group 4, Marathon hosts Caledonia AIA Wednesday night at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw in Couva in the first meeting on August 22, the lone point both have earned.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the knockout stage, Marathon coach Manuel Keosseian believes his team is heading in the right direction.
"For a coach the results are important, but it's even more important to know that the team is playing well, that gives you the belief that we can get out of this situation," he told Honduran daily Diez's website. "Is it going to be hard? Of course and it has been."
Alajuelense hosts Real Esteli Wednesday night with a chance to go atop Group 6. The Costa Ricans are one point behind UANL, but have played one less game than their Mexican counterparts.
The two sides will meet in the final week on October 24 at Estadio Universitario.
Alajuelense, which defeated Cartagines 1-0 Saturday to move atop the Costa Rican Invierno, knows a win against Esteli is critical.
"It will be a very important three points on Wednesday," defender Elias Palma told Nacion.com. "It will not be easy, we played with them there and we know it is not easy. But a win helps us because we would not have to go and win in Mexico."