Only two games had more cards shown by the referee than the game between Club Tijuana and Santos Laguna in week 5 of the Liga MX Apertura 2017. The shocking detail about this stat is that Santos Laguna had no cards shown.
The Xolos picked up a staggering five yellow cards in this game and this could be an ongoing problem as the season progresses.
The Xolos are now second in the Liga MX in yellow cards, with 15, and have inclusively picked up a red card as well. The lone red card dealt to the Aztec Canines in this Apertura 2017 was to Argentine defender Alejandro Donatti in week 2 of the competition. Donatti served a two-match ban because of the red card, but has slotted back into the starting 11 and seems to have his spot locked if he keeps a cool head.
One of the more shocking stats is that striker Gustavo Bou has two goals, but three yellow cards.
The star signing of the off-season is finally beginning to perform well for the team, but it would be a shame if he missed out on a few matches in the future due to disciplinary issues.
This problem stems from Eduardo Coudet’s hard pressing style of play that often forces players to commit fouls when getting countered. The positive is that the new five at the back formation that Coudet is implementing may reduce the number of fouls that need to be made. However, in this first game with the new formation, five yellow cards were received, so it seems like the cards will not stop coming in.
The problem may also stem from the players themselves as some of the off-season acquisitions brought in by Coudet have had similar issues in the past and struggle to keep a level head on the playing field.
While this can work as an advantage because of Coudet’s playing style that requires intensity, it can also affect the team this season. It would not be surprising to see players like Matias Aguirregaray, Gustavo Bou, and Damian Musto miss a few games this season because of disciplinary issues. Musto currently has two yellow cards and is tied for second in the league in fouls with 16. Damian Perez has also been forced to have his share of fouls this season with 14, and two yellow cards to go along with it.
This is not an easy issue to handle and may not even improve as the weeks go by, but it will be interesting to see if the issue does find resolution or if it seriously affects the team going forward.