Tom Marshall: Time up for 'Tuca' at Tigres?

The embattled coach has shown an unwillingness to shake things up, despite a poor start to the Clausura 2014.
Tigres fans have been wrestling for some time over the question of Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti, but the pondering over the coach's fate has become a wave of discontent after an abysmal start to the Clausura 2014.

Tigres fell 3-0 to Club America in its opening game, followed it up with a 0-0 bore draw in the Estadio Universitario and lost 2-0 to Morelia on Friday, ending the match in disarray with two late red cards.

That is 270 minutes without scoring a league goal from a team that boasts attacking talents such as Lucas Lobos, Dario Burbano, Danilinho, Damian Alvarez and Alan Pulido.

Clearly, something is not clicking for Ferretti's side.

The passionate fan base that fills the stadium every week and regularly takes a large away following is discontent. Fans on unofficial blogs and social networks are demanding a different brand of soccer, one that seeks to attack and entertain. Tigres over the past 12 months have been anything but entertaining. 

Then there is Ferretti's seeming unwillingness to turn to youth.

The likes of Abel Fuentes, Juan Pablo Ocegueda and Uvaldo Luna have been developed at Tigres, but haven't debuted. Jorge Espericueta, who shot to fame in the 2011 U-17 World Cup and played last summer for Mexico in the U-20 World Cup, is also yet to play first-team soccer in the Liga MX.

Then there have been the failures in the Copa Libertadores and CONCACAF Champions League, in which Tigres crashed out early when fielding understrength teams, while neighbor and rival Monterrey won three consecutive editions of the CCL and basked in the accompanying worldwide attention at Club World Cups.

There seems to be a staleness and an unwillingness from the coach to shake things up.

Last season, Tigres boasted the highest average possession per game with 59 percent over regular season matches, according to Televisa Deportes, yet were 10 goals off Toluca's 33 goals over the 17 games. Other sides are content for Tigres to have the ball, as long as Lobos can be nullified. America did just that in the first game of the season, hit Tigres with sharp counters and came out victorious.

"For big names, we can compete with any other team," Ferretti said in his defense during a press conference Monday. "But this isn't about names, it is about men and I hope that these men get back to playing as they can, both individually and collectively."

It was a bold move from Ferretti to demand publically that his players start performing and it is clear the bigger names haven't performed well so far this season.

But as bad as things seem for Tigres now, it is worth taking a trip back to the state of the club when Ferretti took over in May 2010.

Tigres were in the midst of a relegation battle and had just finished 15th in the Bicentenario 2010 season. Few would've bet on Tuca swiftly turning the club's luck around and that the Monterrey university team would lift the Apertura 2011 title 18 months later to end a title drought of almost 30 years.

It is certainly something to think about for Tigres fans. Who would replace Ferretti?

Would the likes of a Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre, Guillermo Vazquez, Ricardo La Volpe or Sergio Markarian be a better bet? Or would Victor Manuel Vucetich cross the divide to take over Tigres after he was let go by Monterrey, following a period of unprecedented glory at that club?

There is plenty to mull over with Tigres and it isn't an easy to make definitive conclusions, but the reality is that a list of possible replacements is likely already being drawn up, in case things don't improve for the team and Ferretti in the next couple of weeks.

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