Saldivar points to roster depth for Pumas’ early success

Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar (pictured) made his first appearance of the Liga MX Clausura season on January 29, 2017, against Necaxa. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)

MEXICO CITY – There is nothing quite like internal competition to drive a team forward and that has been the key ingredient to Pumas’ impressive 2017 launch.

Goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar credited fierce competition among squad members in each training session as the impetus for UNAM’s 3W-0D-1L record after the opening four games in the 2017 Liga MX Clausura.

“We have a squad of 24 players that can do it in the same way as a starter,” said Saldivar. “That has been and will be our base to get good results.”

Roster depth was proved vital to Pumas’ 3-1 win over Necaxa last Sunday and Saldivar was right in the middle of the action.

After starter Alejandro Palacios was forced to leave the match with an injury in the 18th minute, the 26-year-old custodian was called into duty. He responded wonderfully, helping the Mexico City club secure a third straight win. 

Although the fast start has generated plenty of optimism among the Pumas fan base – nearly 78,000 fans have attended the first two home games at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario -- Saldivar is preaching patience.

“It’s barely been four matchdays,” he finished. “It has been a good start, but we can’t get too excited because there are 13 weeks to go. We are aware of what we have done, but there’s still a lot left.”

Third-place Pumas returns to action on Sunday at home against fellow 2016/17 SCCL quarterfinalist Pachuca.