Over the past three weeks, Club America has felt humiliation and euphoria after losing to Chivas 3-0 and then adding to Cruz Azul’s unending misfortune by overcoming a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 win. Playing hosts to Leon Saturday night at Estadio Azteca, America has the chance to build on their comeback win.
Although America’s remarkable ability to haggle a collapse by Cruz Azul in the final minutes turned into the focus of the game, the game showed both the troubles and potential of Las Aguilas.
In the first half, three goals went pass the America defense, which has yet to come away with a clean sheet. Throughout the season, America’s defense hasn’t stood out as a strong-point but a mixed bag. Whether beaten on the counter against Chivas or swindled into making costly mistakes facing Cruz Azul, America’s defense struggles to find their assignments. The lack of separation of boundaries clumps the defense together, but doesn’t take into account its opponent’s other options. Usually this leaves a man open to put the goal in. Christian Gimenez took advantage of this in his second goal, and Chivas scored two of their three by attacking an unsuspecting defense.
As for its potential, America’s big names contributed to the team’s eventual 4-3 win. Without Renato Ibarra, Silvio Romero couldn’t have landed the two goals America needed to turn the game around. Making his return to the roster since America’s game versus Toluca, Oribe Peralta forced in a set-piece with an outstretched right foot, and Pablo Aguilar showed his insistence on the attack by scoring the equalizing goal on a cross from Rubens Sambueza from the right.
The team showed fluidity among the chaos, but America benefited from what they rarely have an advantage over their opponents, more players. A red to Aldo Leao Ramirez near the start of the second opened America’s window of opportunity, and Peralta cashed in first. Though exciting, America can’t rely on pulling a comeback against Leon. As it has failed to take a lead in the first half, America can expect a heavy offensive front at the start from La Fiera.
Leon though has not shown it can thrive in Liga MX play with just seven points in eight games, and it tallies 14 goals allowed, a number tied for second. America surpasses Leon with 15 but posts a positive goal differential of one compared to Leon’s -7. The lack disparity in effectiveness offensively and similarities on defense make this game one primed for high scoring. America enters as the favorites, but as this season has shown, an effective first half primes America for a win. Since playing Toluca in July, America hasn’t excelled at the start. If the trend continues, Leon has a shot at avoiding a loss.
America 2-1 Leon - March 19, 2016 - Liga MX
Oribe Peralta and Andres Andrade got on the scoresheet as Las Aguilas sneaked past Leon.