Match: Club América vs. FC Juárez
Date: Tuesday, September 25th
Time: 10:15 PM Eastern, 9:15 PM Central, 7:15 PM Pacific, 3:15 AM UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Mexico City)
Club América comes into the knockout stages of the Copa MX after a polemic 3-2 victory over Club Puebla at Estadio Cuauhtémoc on Saturday. The match saw las Águilas on the beneficiary end of some very questionable refereeing decisions including a goal that was clearly offsides and a non-existent penalty in stoppage time.
Nothing about Saturday’s match gave off the impression that Club América was a strong team on the cusp of competing for a league championship. Las Águilas, who employed a 4-4-2 formation, looked disorganized across the pitch. Defensively, Miguel Herrera’s side was a disaster and will have to sure up if they want to have any chance of competing for both the Liga MX and Copa MX matches. Edson Álvarez also picked up a red card in the match, and as a result should miss tonight’s Copa MX matchup against undefeated Ascenso MX side FC Juárez.
The visitors from the northern border town of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua are one of the strongest sides that las Águilas could have faced in the first round of the Copa MX knockout stages. In Ascenso MX action, FC Juárez is undefeated through their first 8 matches with a record of 6-2-0. They are the last undefeated team in Mexico’s second division and come into their matchup against Club América on the back of an off week. (There are only 15 teams in the Ascenso MX and each team is afforded one off week.) Across all commotions, los Bravos have only dropped one match - a 3-1 loss road loss to Xolos de Tijuana in Copa MX action.
FC Juárez will be looking to pull off the upset of Mexico’s biggest club in their first ever visit to the Estadio Azteca. In order for the unthinkable to happen, Los Bravos will need a near perfect performance from everyone on the pitch. Because they are coming off of a week with no match, expect coach Gabriel Caballero to field a very strong lineup with regular starters in tonight’s match. Gabriel Hachen, should he see the field, would definitely be a player to watch. The big summer signing from Dorados has been a key part of FC Juárez’s strong start to the 2018 Apertura with distribution, goalscoring, and overall high work rate.
Miguel Herrera and Club América are not in for the cake walk that many people would expect in a clash between Mexico’s biggest club and a second division side. It will be crucial for las Águilas to get some early goals in they are to avoid an embarrassing early exit in the Copa MX. Allowing FC Juárez to hang around until late in the match would almost surely spell disaster. This season, los Bravos have been experts in scoring last gasp goals - with several matched being determined by them.