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2018 Liga MX Clausura Preview: Club América

Las Águilas look to improve on a disappointing Apertura season with a new star powered lineup that looks ready to challenge for the title.

America v Cruz Azul - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2017 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The 2017 Apertura season for Club América could be described in just one word: disappointing. The return of Miguel Herrera, from a successful stint as Tijuana’s manager, as head coach of las Águilas was supposed to usher in a new era of dominance for biggest team in Mexico. Instead, the first season of Herrera back at the helm brought a mixed bag of results and a much more defensive style of play than that which Club América fans were used to seeing out of their favorite team.

Over the course of the season, las Águilas played so defensively that they struggled to create almost anything on the offensive side of the ball. Only 6 players managed to put their name on the scoresheet more than once over the corse of the last season. Oribe Peralta was easily the team’s leading scorer with 6 goals to his name over the course of the tournament. Mateus Uribe was the team’s second leading scorer with a mere 3 goals across the tournament.

Due to the lack of goalscoring prowess, every game was an adventure for las Águilas. Not a single match felt like it was going to be certain victory for the squad from Mexico City. Rather, it always felt as though something might go horribly wrong leading to a defeat.

Despite all of the poor offensive displays and the overall sense of negativity that surrounded the team, Club América managed to sneak into the semifinals of the liguilla. The defensive effort shown by the team throughout the season to reach the liguilla was commendable, but in the end the lack of offensive play caught up to the team as they fell to eventual champions Tigres UANL.

In response to his lackluster first season back in charge of Club América, Miguel Herrera set out to shake up the squad in the offseason. At first, it seemed like rumors of a financial crisis at Club América were proving to be true as las Águilas sat by and watched other teams make moves early in the Liga MX draft. Finally, towards the end of the draft, las Águilas made a series of moves. Miguel Samudio was sold to Querétaro and Pablo Aguilar was traded to Tijuana in exchange for 3 players; Mexican striker Henry Martín, Argentine central defender Victor Emanuel Aguilera, and American attacking midfielder Joe Corona. Martín and Aguilera joined Club América on permanent deals. Corona joined on a loan with the option to buy in the future.

The move to swap Pablo Aguilar for three other players came as a complete shock. Aguilar had been one of the key players in the steadfast defense that had helped Club América reach the semifinals of the liguilla. Yet, according to Miguel Herrera, the opportunity to sign three new players in exchange for one was too good of an offer to pass up.

The next stage of the offseason provided Club América fans with a variety of different rumors about who their team was going to be signing from abroad. After being linked to nearly anyone and everyone playing fútbol outside of Mexico in the early stages of the Liga MX international window, las Águilas del América finally made their first international signing just hours before the start of the 2018 Clausura tournament. However, this first signing is no ordinary player from South America. Rather, las Águilas announced that they had signed former Monaco, Roma, PSG, and Milan striker Jérémy Ménez from Turkish side Antalyaspor. Later, the same day that Ménez was signed, las Águilas signed Colombian winger Andrés Ibargüen from Racing Club in Argentina.

The five new players brought in by Miguel Herrera this off season have instantly brought Club América to the forefront of conversations about teams that might contend for the title. However, due to the fact that Ménez and Ibargüen were signed a mere two days before the start of the Clausura it is hard to figure out the exact style of play that Miguel Herrera will try to employ in his revamped squad. However, one thing is for certain, with a revamped set of attacking players there is no reason for las Águilas to struggle so mightily on offense this season.

The main thing to watch for is this Clausura is how Miguel Herrera incorporates his five new players into the squad. Will Herrera line up his squad in a 4-4-1-1 with Ménez playing behind whichever striker is in form? Or will he line up the squad in more of a 4-3-3 in order to take advantage of the creative wingers that he now has on the squad?

If Miguel Herrera can figure out the formula to get all of his new players producing on the field, Club América will be one of the more dangerous teams in all of Liga MX. the question is, will he be able to make his new star studded lineup get results?