The most anticipated game of the regular season for Club America arrives Saturday at the Estadio Azteca as las Aguilas play their archival Chivas de Guadalajara in another edition of the Super Clasico.
Over a four game stretch, Club America has gathered just five points and Chivas has done same. Regardless of how teams have played since the start of the season, a Super Clasico brings out the intensity of both teams to make for a more than interesting matchup. Injuries and red cards have plagued America throughout its four game stretch.
Versus Puebla, its previous opponent, America ended the game with a 2-2 draw and saw its captain, Rubens Sambueza, sent off with two yellow cards. Sambueza, however, won’t miss el Clasico as the league overturned his suspension. Sambueza’s suspension, or lack thereof, brought tension into the game with Chivas coach Matias Almeyda criticizing the league’s decision. While Sambueza’s place on the roster remains without a question, Oribe Peralta and Miguel Samudio remain out of the roster because of injuries, and Bruno Valdez’s status remains questionable after America’s Copa MX victory Mineros de Zacatecas.
On the Guadalajara side, Eduardo “La Chofis” Lopez, who has played well in club competition, is expected to make his first start against Club America in his young career. Recently, Lopez has gained star status for the moment he currently lives, and thus, Lopez’s involvement in el Clasico draws interest from both the Guadalajara and America sides.
Along with Chofis, recent national team call up, Angel “Chelo” Zaldivar seems to have finally found his groove. In the past two games, the 22-year-old striker has netted three goals, eclipsing his total from last season and in the process solidifying himself as the team’s main penalty kicker. This bodes well for Almeyda’s squad who started the season having scored only one goal in the first four games of the Apertura.
While the club has taken a step in the right direction offensively, the recent departure of Carlos Salcedo to Italy, will be a big void to fill on defense. The Argentine coach, who has had no success versus Club America since his tenure began, must get his team rolling early and be mindful of the always dangerous America counter-attack.
For America, finding early momentum and involving its attacking midfielders and forwards remains essential for the team. In its underwhelming stretch of games, America has either gone scoreless in the first half or fallen behind its opponents. Playing at home should help las Aguilas prevent early turmoil, but more importantly, America’s squad needs to avoid on-field disciplinary miscues. Through its four game stretch, las Aguilas have munched on three red cards. In a game driven by pride and history, staying leveled and collected when provoked should play a focal point for America’s squad.
America 2-1 Chivas- May 15, 2016 - 2016 Liga MX Clausura quarterfinals
Peralta and Osvaldo Martinez scored to eliminate Chivas from Liguilla.