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Club America vs. Monarcas Morelia: 2016 Liga MX Apertura Preview

Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images

Three second half goals in its last game prevented Club America from stacking up two consecutive losses. Las Aguilas, now, host Monarcas Morelia at the Estadio Azteca on Saturday following its 4-2 win over los Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz .

Refereeing decisions jeopardized Club America’s last two fixtures, but versus Veracruz, a breakdown in the second half on behalf of Veracruz undid an early 2-1 disadvantage for America. Like the final score, America gained an advantage in the second half. Two red cards for Veracruz undid Erik Pimentel’s early sending off and gave America a one-man advantage over Veracruz. Despite protesting the refereeing decision to send off Pimentel, America must do without the defender versus Monarcas and once again will field an incomplete team. Adding to the already lengthy list of unavailable players, a facial injury during Mexico’s short run in the Olympics sidelined Oribe Peralta for at least three of America’s Liga MX matches.

Although they went out with a 4-2 win against los Tibruones Rojos, America has yet to convince it can win with an incomplete squad. Against Tigres, America looked outmatched. Versus Veracruz, America looked uneven with a torrid first half and a dominating second. The shrinking amount of men on the field heavily influenced the result of America’s last game, but before it gained a physical advantage on the field, Silvio Romero and Darwin Quintero livened up the outlook for the team’s offense. Tigres silenced America in its 3-0 loss and only loss of the season, and showed the vulnerability of the team. The play between Quintero and Romero resurrected the expectations of America’s attack as the players pressured and downed Veracruz’s defense. For America this week, a repeat of last week’s chemistry between Quintero and Romero would more than enhance America’s chances of success facing Morelia.

Throughout the season, Morelia has yet to score less than two goals and has held down its past two opponents with a 4-2 win over Santos and a 3-2 win over Atlas. Pimentel’s suspension on a dubious play and Miguel Samuido’s injury in the first week has stretched America defensively and without a full set of options, America must find a way to make due with their circumstances and somehow prevent goals despite this season’s lack of clean sheets. In its last game, Veracruz scored the first two goals of the game by running away past the backline off a deep pass in the air. Through the first half, America’s defense blew coverage because of high soaring passes or mistimed passes.

Morelia’s strongest threat to America’s defense forms in Raul Ruidiaz who scored a hat-trick against Santos. Currently, Ruidiaz registers four goals this season and has shown an ability to locate and use his head despite his short stature. Obviously Morelia would look for players other than Ruidiaz to score, but Ruidiaz’s approach and enticing draw make him a distraction as well as a threat for America. Refereeing decisions aside, America looks able to match Morelia, but to beat its visitors, las Aguilas must avoid falling for deceiving looks and take control of the game to surpass Monarcas.

Last meeting:

America 4-1 Morelia Liga MX March 5, 2016.

Quintero scores two and Cuauhtémoc Blanco plays his last minutes in a Club America kit.