Pumas surprised many fans as they beat America 3-0 in a preseason friendly played in Frisco, Texas. With America preparing for their match this weekend against Tigres, where they play the Campeon de Campeones Cup, and Pumas preparing for the regular season, it was an even game. But it was Pumas who came on top, helped by an own goal and two penalty kicks. That being said, it’s a very positive result for Pumas and new coach Michel, as he gets a win against their biggest rival in their first game, although it’s only a friendly. After losing to Boca Juniors and River Plate, this loss makes it the three consecutive preseason defeats for coach Miguel Herrera.
The friendly started with a lot of support from mostly American fans in the stands in Frisco, Texas. Pumas had the first opportunity when a Brian Figueroa long range shot came close to going in. They had another great chance when a shot in the area got blocked by America’s defender Carlos Vargas. Although Pumas had the best chances, America had control of the possession and had a couple of good drives through Andres Ibarguen.
After a water break, America continued having most of the possession. Alejandro Diaz had the best opportunity of the game when his header off a free kick hit the crossbar. A minute after the play it would be Pumas who would open the scoring. Felipe Mora went past a defender and made a low cross that got deflected by an America defender right into the path of Oscar Jimenez. Jimenez made an incredible mistake when he failed to clear the ball and instead deflected in with his knee for an own goal. Although there was a deflection, the fact he could see the ball going straight to him, definitely showed that he made a big mistake and it was a very preventable own goal.
Pumas continued attacking and Brian Figueroa had another great chance but this time Jimenez was able to save the ball.
The second half started with the start of the unlimited substitutions for the friendly with Pumas switching goalkeepers. America started looking the most dangerous including a chance that was cleared but protested as a handball by the America players. Soon, Pumas would start getting more possession and Emmanuel Aguilera got called for a penalty kick. Victor Malcorra took the penalty and placed it past Jimenez for the 2-0.
Pumas had a great chance when Jeison Angulo made a great pass to Martin Barragan, but he kicked it horribly and it was blocked. After that, a lot of subs were made from both sides and the game suffered for it.
Pumas came close to scoring twice, first with a deflected shot by Malcorra that was saved by Jimenez then by a low shot from Pablo Barrera.
Pumas had another great opportunity wasted by Barragan, when his near range header went straight to Jimenez. Barragan almost redeemed himself when he made a great play to dribble past two America defenders and got his shot off before a great save by Jimenez stopped him from scoring his goal. Pablo Barrera should have done better to score from his rebound, but the ball was cleared by America’s defense.
In the final minute of play, Barragan got brought down and a penalty was called. Juan Iturbe took it and scored the 3-0.
Not much can be taken from a preseason friendly in the US. It’s a great result for Pumas against their biggest rival but the game was filled with changes and America was the farthest of the two in coming close to having their best 11 out there. A lot of the game was hyped for the possible debut from Giovani Dos Santos with America, but although he trained with the team, he wasn’t going to play and didn’t. The biggest worry yet for Miguel Herrera is Sunday’s Campeon de Campeones cup, which despite Liga MX’s insistence of trying to build the game up, it is still just an official preseason game for most fans.
For Pumas, this is a step in the right direction for new coach Michel. The Universitarios will make their Liga MX debut against Atletico San Luis two weeks from now.