Match: Tigres UANL vs. Club América
Date: Saturday, August 24th
Time: 10:05pm Eastern, 9:05pm Central, 7:05pm Pacific, 2:05am UTC
Venue: Estadio Universitario “El Volcán” (San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León)
Referees: Ref: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Jorge Antonio Espinoza Sánchez, 4th: Alejandro Funk Villafañe
There are few matches that currently generate more excitement and drama both on and off the pitch than when Tigres take on Club América. Travel to Mexico in the days leading up to a match between the two star-studded clubs and you'd be hard pressed to avoid seeing front pages of newspapers filled with information, rumors, and opinions about the upcoming match. Turn on the TV and watch any sports channel and you're sure to find talking heads discussing the match and whether it deserves to be called a clásico. Inevitably the conversation will turn to whether or not Tigres could be considered the Quinto Grande in Mexican fútbol or whether or not they are un equip de moda/época like Toluca in the 1990s.
Regardless of your thoughts and opinions on whether a match between Tigres UANL and Club América deserves to be called a clásico or whether or not Tigres is the Quinto Grande in Mexican fútbol - there is no denying that this is one of the best matchups that Liga MX has to offer. From 2010-2019, Tigres and Club América have easily been the most successful teams in Mexican fútbol. During this time span, las Águilas have won seven trophies - three Liga MX titles, one Copa MX title, one Campeón de Campeones, and two CONCACAF Champions League titles. For their part, los Felinos have won 9 trophies - five Liga MX titles, three Campeón de Campeones, and one Copa MX title. During this same time span, Tigres has also played in three CONCACAF Champions League finals and even managed to reach the final of the Copa Libertadores.
Most recently, Tigres and Club América squared off in the Campeón de Campeones match ahead of the 2019 Apertura season and in a semifinal match of the Leagues Cup earlier this week. Both matches went to penalties with Club América winning the Campeón de Campeones trophy and Tigres advancing to the final of the Leagues Cup. Despite both matches going to penalty shootouts, it was Club América that looked the most likely to win during regulation time.
During the Campeón de Campeones match, it was las Águilas who took the match to Tigres. América pinned los Felinos in their own half and attacked in droves. Had it not been for the phenomenal play of Nahuel Guzman in net, the scoreline could have easily been very lopsided in favor of Club América. When it came down to penalties, it was Club América goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín that stole the show. The Argentine keeper made several big saves before eventually scoring the winning penalty himself.
In the Leagues Cup semifinal, a very different Club América side took to the pitch. In the time since they had last played Tigres, las Águilas sold star goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín and midfielder Mateus Uribe to Porto. Despite selling their two best players, Club América were largely able to dictate the style of play in the match. Tigres struggled to break down a very defensive América side that looked to attack on the counter with Renato Ibarra and Andres Ibargüen. They key to the counterattack from las Águilas was striker Roger Martinez’s holdup play and distribution. The Colombian attacker masterfully held off Tigres defenders and distributed the ball out to Ibarra and Ibargüen out on the wings. Had it not been for own goals by Paul Aguilar and Bruno Valdez, las Águilas would have won the match 2-0 with both goals coming from Andres Ibargüen. Instead, it was Tigres who advanced after a penalty shootout.
Tigres is going to have to drastically improve from how they played against Club América in the Campeón de Campeones and Leagues Cup if they are going to take any points from Saturday night’s home match. It is likely that las Águilas will play very similarly to how they did in the midweek. Saturday’s match will also see Memo Ochoa back in goal for Club América in Liga MX action for the first time since 2011 when he left for French side Ajaccio. Having a quality veteran presence in goal should help boost the confidence of the Club América defense and only serve to complicate life for the Tigres attackers. This means that Tigres is going to have to be much more effective while in possession of the ball as they look to break down a compact defense that is ready to spring into a counterattack almost immediately after winning the ball. Playing the ball out wide and constantly lifting crosses into the box isn’t going to be enough to win the match. On top of that, it is unlikely that Tigres will be able to count on own goals from las Águilas to bail them out again.