Chiapas is a young franchise in Mexican soccer that has only been around since 2002. While Jaguares has not reached a final in their brief history, the organization has always produced great offensive talents that have been relevant in the Liga MX and beyond.
The earliest example of a great goalscorer that became relevant in Chiapas is Paraguayan striker Salvador Cabañas. The player who would later become a key figure with Club America played in Tuxtla Gutierrez from 2003-2006. “Chava” is still Chiapas’ all-time goalscorer with 59 goals in those three years with the team. Cabañas’ partner in crime during this span was Mexican striker Carlos Ochoa who scored 40 goals in a few different stints with the club.
Another notable Mexican striker that played in the jungle was Oribe Peralta. “El Hermoso” just recently scored his 150th goal in the Liga MX but before his glory days with Santos Laguna and America, Peralta played with Chiapas. The Mexican international had a stint with the Jaguares from 2008-2009 on loan from Santos Laguna, scoring 12 goals in 35 appearances.
The most notable player to ever sport the Orange uniform was easily Jackson Martinez. The Colombian striker is one of the best strikers to ever play in the Liga MX. Martinez dominated the league with his pace and physical prowess which earned him 48 goals with Chiapas from 2009-2012. The ‘cafetero’ went on to have a successful career with FC Porto in Europe and even played with Atletico Madrid. Martinez is now 30 and is at a different stage in his career playing in the Chinese Super League.
Another potent striker that once played in ‘la selva’ but is perhaps more forgotten than Cabañas or Martinez is Itamar Batista. The Brazilian striker terrorized Liga MX defenses with his physical presence and superb positioning. Itamar obtained 21 goals from 2008-2009 and was still an imposing force with Tigres UANL after his spell with the Jaguares.
Some more recent productive forwards that have played for Chiapas include Aviles Hurtado, Pedro Alexis Canelo and Silvio Romero. Canelo was never great with Chiapas but the Jaguares are the franchise that brought the Argentine to the Liga MX. Canelo is currently on loan with Puebla and is excelling with four goals and four assists on a crumbling Puebla team that offers him no support. Aviles Hurtado was productive with Chiapas getting 20 goals from 2013-2016. Now with Xolos of Tijuana, the Colombian forward is having the tournament of his career with a league-leading eight goals and five assists.
Silvio Romero had an amazing season with Chiapas, scoring 18 goals in the 15/16 campaign. This put the Argentine striker on the map and allowed him to join Club America in the Apertura 2016, where he scored 10 goals in his debut tournament with the ‘aguilas’. Since Romero’s departure, Chiapas has struggled to find the next player in this prestigious line of talents that have played for the club. It appeared that this tournament would not offer that type of player, but recently Colombian midfielder Felix Micolta has stood out.
Micolta has scored four goals in the Copa MX and three goals in the Liga MX. The Colombian’s first standout performance came in week 6 of the Copa MX. The attacking midfielder scored a hat-trick against Ascenso MX side, Potros UAEM that got Chiapas the victory and allowed his team to make the playoffs. Micolta also made an appearance on the score sheet in the round of 16 match in the Copa MX against Puebla, scoring one goal.
In the Liga MX, Micolta had not been the main figure with Chiapas until recently, getting his first goal of the tournament against Monterrey in week 13 of the competition. The felines lost 4-1 but the Colombian forward had a beautiful goal in the encounter. Micolta chipped Monterrey goalkeeper, Hugo Gonzalez perfectly to obtain his first goal of the Clausura 2017. The following week against Club Tijuana, Micolta showcased his pace with a remarkable goal. The ‘cafetero’ ran at Tijuana’s defense, passed the ball to Luis Leal, who held the ball for Micolta. The Colombian charged towards the ball again and obtained the ball from Leal to round Xolos’ keeper, Gibran Lajud with his speed and put the ball in the back of the net.
In Chiapas’ latest fixture, Micolta appeared on the scoresheet again, putting a goal past Queretaro. The 27-year-old showcased his dribbling ability to beat out Queretaro’s Miguel Martinez then struck a perfect shot to beat Tiago Volpi and get his goal. This is Micolta’s first tournament in the Liga MX, having played with Ascenso MX side, Juarez in 2016. He has shown immense pace and superb dribbling and passing abilities. The native of Colombia is another prime example of Chiapas’ excellent scouting over the years that has brought impactful players to the Liga MX. It will be intriguing to see if the Colombian can keep his good form and become as impactful as other talents that have surged in Chiapas.