ATLANTA - JULY 28: Aquivaldo Mosquera #3 of Club America questions referee Mark Geiger (R) after earning a yellow card that set up a successful penalty kick for Manchester City during the 2010 Aaron's International Soccer Challenge match at Georgia Dome on July 28 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The last edition of the Super Clasico was bad. Really bad. Honestly, one of the most boring games I've ever seen in my life, and almost certainly the most boring game I've seen a Mexican team play, though some of the Morelia games last year without Miguel Sabah were pretty mind numbing. Chivas had no replacement for Chicharito, and America had no incentive to do anything but play for a draw.
This year is different. Both teams are fighting for a Liguilla place, but are far from getting it. They both need all three points, and pretty badly at that. Erick Torres has emerged for Chivas, and just like it is for every young player to come out of that side of Guadalajara, the hype train is rolling. Much of the media are already hyping him as better than Javier Hernandez, as if that does anyone any good. Regardless, he's a quality young player, and he's what Chivas were lacking in the 2010 Apertura.
Meanwhile, America have a whole lot going forward and not a lot at the back. Their 5-4 win over Puebla was an (albeit exaggerated) microcosm for their entire season. Interestingly, Vicente Sanchez scored twice in that game, and it looks like he will be taking Vicente Vuoso's spot in the starting lineup once again. Since taking charge of the team, Carlos Reinoso has shifted the team from a 4-4-2 setup to a 4-2-3-1 that features Daniel Montenegro in front of a double pivot and behind one striker. Where there used to be room for two strikers, there is now only room for one.
Chivas are still playing a 4-4-2, usually with Omar Arellano partnering Torres up top, and that, on paper, gives America an inherent advantage in the middle. However, despite the tactical advantage that America has and the fact that a three-man midfield of Pavel Pardo, Rosenei, and Montenegro just sounds good, it rarely works out as planned. America are currently doing well enough to squeak into Liguilla, but their midfield doesn't control games like they should. There's no reason that they shouldn't be able to keep possession and win back the ball easily with that midfield, and yet, they are occasionally outplayed.
It seems like playing a two man center of midfield against three is one of football's great cardinal sins these days, but America hasn't show that they will have what it takes to take advantage of Chivas's soft center. Pardo is showing his age, Montenegro hasn't been in fantastic form, and it's possible that Rosinei's been a bit overrated all along. If this team is serious about being a contender in Mexico, their midfield should be able to control this game.
The recipe for excitement is here. America have a soft defense, Chivas have a soft center of midfield. Both teams have forwards that can score. Both teams are desperate for a win. If this Super Clasico isn't exiting, we might be doomed to watch boring draws forever.