The Galaxy and Pachuca will meet today in their first-ever SuperLiga game. The Galaxy is a known commodity... well, the players are a known commodity - how they play from game to game is a mystery to many.
But some of our readers may not be as familiar with Pachuca, though. I'll try and get you guys up to speed on what I consider one of the three best clubs in the Western Hemisphere.
Pachuca hold the Mexican league title, the CONCACAF Champions Cup and Copa Sudamericana. That's unprecedented in Mexico. Additionally, only Toluca has enjoyed as much success as Pachuca over the last decade. Pachuca won promotion to the Mexican First Division in 1999 and beat Cruz Azul to win th Invierno 99 title. Many thought that was a fluke as Pachuca had never before won a league title, strange considering their 100-plus year history.
It wasn't a fluke; instead, it was a taste of what the next decade would hold. Pachuca captured the titles in Invierno 2001, Apertura 2003, Clausura 2006 and Clausura 2007. Perhaps more impressive, each of those championships were won with a different coach at the helm: Javier Aguirre won the first, then Alfredo Tena, Victor Manuel Vucetich, Jose Luis Trejo and Enrique Meza.
Players too have come and gone. Only Gabriel Caballero has been a part of all five championship sides. Miguel Calero, Andres Chitiva, Fausto Pinto and Jaime Correa have been key parts of several titles as well.
The Galaxy will face a deep and talented squad, but not flashy by any means. There aren't any headline-grabbing names that you'll find on America and Chivas. Calero's pretty solid in goal. He's been on four of Pachuca's championship sides.
On defense, Pinto is steady but Aquivaldo Mosquera is a beast. He had offers from France and turned them down to stay with Pachuca. Marvin Cabrera, Leobardo Lopez and Fernando Salazar offer quality on the backline as well.
Correa, Chitiva and Caballero are key parts of the midfield and with Damian Alvarez, Meza has plenty of options and weapons in the midfield. Alvarez and Caballero had four goals apiece last season while Chitiva chipped in with three. Caballero is your typical crafty veteran. He doesn't have much speed and is 37 years old, but he still produces and can still be dangerous.
Pachuca lost Luis Angel Landin to Morelia but brought in Luis Gabriel Rey to fill Landin's super-sub role. Rey is a proven goalscorer in Mexico as he had strong stints with Morelia and Atlante before joining Pachuca. Rey, though, is likely Pachuca's third-best option as Juan Carlos Cacho and Cristian "Chaco" Gimenez figure to be the starters. Cacho had 11 goals last season and was a key part of Mexico's Copa America squad. Gimenez had nine goals last year but he scores goals in bunches. Gimenez had a hat trick against Houston in a 5-2 win that eliminated the MLS club from the CONCACAF Champions Cup earlier this year.
Pachuca's the classiest side in the tournament but because they lack a name player and because they don't have millions of supporters like Chivas and America, they tend to be overlooked but all Pachuca does is win trophies. They're my pick to win the first ever SuperLiga tournament and any team they face will have their hands full.
EDIT: Fausto Pinto, Jaime Correa and Juan Carlos Cacho are not here because of their participation in Copa America.