Necaxa and Atlas are scoreless after 45 minutes, but the match hasn't been without entertainment. Unfortunately, a lot of that entertainment has to do with referee Jesús Fabricio Morales Bojórquez calling an incredibly poor match, but entertainment is entertainment! For the lovers of defense and Chicago Fire fans in the house, Atlas defender Wilman Conde has been spectacular in the first half.
Despite that, Conde found himself as part of some drama in the opening minutes. While he was defending Sergio Blanco, the Necaxa forward accidentally tripped in the box. The referee, stunningly, called a free kick outside of the box and gave a yellow card to Conde. There was no foul committed on the play, but if Conde did indeed make contact with Blanco, the referee would have had no choice but to grant a penalty kick and show Conde a straight red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. Instead of picking one or the other, the referee showed a complete lack of bottle by granting the non-existent middle ground of a free kick from 19 yards and a yellow card.
A similar incident happened at the end of the half on the other end when Gerardo Flores of Atlas was shown a yellow card for diving in the box when he had clearly been contacted. The contact appeared to be incidental and a penalty would have been harsh, but by no means did Flores dive without being contacted. Two big decisions, both wrong.
Atlas captain Gerardo Espinoza didn't start the match and isn't on the bench either, thanks to a bruised thigh, and Atlas have felt his absence. Luis Robles isn't doing much to slow down Necaxa in the midfield, leaving Wilman Conde to do a lot of work. The Colombian and former Chicago Fire man has stepped up and performed admirably, though, denying Necaxa chances over and over again.