Mere hours before C.D. Guadalajara and New York Red Bulls kick off the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions semifinal, Diario Record’s Ruben Rodriguez broke news of festering grievances within the Chivas squad.
No, not continued outrage at the perceived injustice of Jair Pereira’s suspension for grabbing Sean Davis warmly by the throat in the first leg of the team’s CCL clash with RBNY. Rather, per Rodriguez, the Chivas players have a long list of complaints to lay at the door of their club’s front office.
The encompassing issue at the heart of the matter is an apparent austerity drive by Chivas’ management. This has reportedly resulted in a failure to deliver bonuses for the trophies the team won in April and May of last year: the 2017 Clausura Liga MX and Copa MX titles. Per Rodriguez’s reporting, some players have received partial payment of their prize money, some none at all - and the club has failed to adequately communicate when the overdue compensation will be provided.
Further, there are complaints about the food the club is serving to its players, and the way travel for big games is being managed. An anonymous player in Rodriguez’s report dismisses the team’s meals as below the level second division clubs would offer.
And the journey to Red Bull Arena was reportedly punctuated by a long layover in Houston, effectively keeping the team in transit for more than 10 hours and seeing the players arrive at their hotel in the early hours of Monday morning - not ideal preparation for Tuesday’s match. Rodriguez also unearthed complaints about the distance of the team’s hotel from Red Bull Arena.
The reporter’s Tweeted summary of his story was Retweeted by a number of senior members of the Chivas squad, including Jair Pereira, Carlos Salcido, and Rodolfo Cota. Diario Record duly packaged and presented those Retweets as endorsements of its work.
Rodriguez’s report does, naturally, state that players and technical staff are united in both their disappointment with their club’s management and the desire to win through to this year’s CCL final. They are professionals, after all. But the point of the story is well made: the Chivas players can hardly be expected to be fully focused on the task at hand when their front office is acting the goat.