Oribe Peralta made the most of his final game before joining the Mexican Olympic team by scoring a hat-trick in Club America’s 3-1 win over los Diablos Rojos de Toluca on Saturday night. Peralta’s performance earned him a standing ovation as he made Toluca’s goalkeeper have no other option than to gaze at the three shots going past him. Here’s my three takeaways of America’s performance.
1)America won’t feel Peralta’s absence too badly
Five absences didn’t keep America from convincingly defeating Toluca, and although Peralta went on a tear before his Olympic departure, America still has plenty of options to stay in contention. Quality runs deep in the squad. Silvio Romero still hasn’t played a full 90 minutes and can have a similar impact on the field as Peralta. Rubens Sambueza has shown in the last two games the calming and decisive presence he has on the team, and Quintero has contributed offensively in both Copa and Liga competition. America may not count on a full roster yet, but Osvaldo Martinez and Silvio Romero can give America’s attack extra versatility, while Peralta attempts at repeating a gold medal with the Mexican squad.
2)Second half play continues to impact
In the first two games, America has scored two goals in the second half, and in its first two games, it has scored a goal early into the final 45 minutes of play. A major part of their second half success comes down to the team’s ability to make the best out of their opportunities. After Peralta’s goal off Quintero’s corner, Toluca seemed to begin regaining focus, but America buried a goal on a pass deep within its own territory for the 3-1 lead. If America can continue to be clinical when their opponents aren’t, its perfect run thus far may stay intact past week three.
3)Hugo Gonzalez didn’t waste his chance
Toluca’s goal attributes itself more to the defense letting a man open than Hugo Gonzalez falling for the dribble. A defense shouldn’t let its goalkeeper face a one-on-one situation, but it happens. Injury brought Gonzalez back to the starting spot, but by suffering only one goal and Moisès Muñoz’s return at least one week away, Gonzalez has the opportunity to continue building an argument on why he should stay in the starting 11. Both goalkeepers appear driven by the competition built around them, and although they may feel the pressure until one folds, America rakes in the benefits.