Pumas was able to return to the path of victory with a 1-0 win against Club America in a friendly played in Carson, California. It was only a friendly victory, which came days after a solid 2-0 win by Club America over Pumas in Liga MX play, but it could still be a boost to a Pumas team that hadn’t won a match since August 22nd. Club America meanwhile was hurt the most by having a number of players off because of international team activity as opposed to Pumas, who only had one starting player missing. Both teams will now wait for the return of Liga MX where Club America will travel to face Atletico San Luis while Pumas goes back home to take on FC Juarez.
The first half started with both teams coming with strong lineups considering their missing national team players. The most notable news was the return of Antonio Lopez after his injury in the CONCACAF Champions League match against Olimpia. Three minutes in America had a great opportunity when Federico Viñas got a one-on-one against the goalkeeper, but a great slide from Ricado Galindo was able to get the ball off his feet. Pumas came close to when an America defender headed the ball into the goal and America’s goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez had to make a great save to stop the own goal. Off of a free kick, Miguel Layun looked to have sent his cross too far from any players but it almost went in as Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez was forced to make a save. Juan Ignacio Dinenno got off a shot that Jimenez was able to save. America wasted a great chance after a cross into the went over the head of Gonzalez, and Jordan Silva got a wide open header but he headed the ball too strongly into the ground and it bounced over the bar. America got close again with a long range shot that bounced off the post. Alek Alvarez got off a cross that turned into a shot, but it went wide. The halftime whistle blew and although Pumas had improved in the last minutes, America had been the better team in the first half.
The second half started with both teams looking for the win. Pumas had a great chance when Cristian Battochio got the ball and went for a one-on-one, but he took too long and in the end got off a shot that went wide, wasting a great opportunity. It looked like America had wasted a chance when Silva got a ball and shot wide from close range but it was called offside. Then after a couple of good passes, Jose Rogerio got the ball and made a great turn around shot that went past Jimenez for the 1-0 lead. It was a deserved goal for a Pumas team that had been the best team in the second half. America immediately made three substitutions by subbing out Mauro Lainez, Mario Osuna, and Sebastian Caceres for Salvador Reyes, Alvaro Fidalgo, and Bruno Valdez. America came close when a Layun cross almost went in, with Gonzalez again doing a poor job on it. Pumas subbed out Alek Alvarez and Christian Battochio for Higor Meritao and Leonel Lopez. Pumas came close with a shot from Erik Lira that went wide. Pumas then subbed out Juan Ignacio Dinenno for Washington Corozo. Pumas had a three-on-two opportunity but the Pumas cross went straight to Bruno Valdez, who cleared it. Pumas subbed out Favio Alvarez for Marco Garcia while America subbed out Luis Fuentes and Federico Viñas for Paolo Adame and Esteban Lozano. In the last minute America came close to getting a goal, but Meritao made a diving save to clear the ball off of an America attacker. It turned out to be the last chance, and Pumas got the win to the surprise of most fans.
While it was just a friendly result, Club America fans will have a sour taste in their mouth from the match. The biggest reason being because the friendly was made to celebrate the anniversary of Club America, which is on October 12. Yet America knows that they currently sit in first place in Liga MX, that they were missing a number of players because of international activity in both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, and that they have better goals than a struggling Pumas. So while the loss is a disappointment for the fans in the stadium, it doesn’t mean much overall. For Pumas however the win can be a boost to a team that has been severely struggling and whose loss against America might have cost them the tournament. They are far from getting into the Liguilla zone at the moment, but a win could help give some confidence to players especially Jose Rogerio, the goal scorer who has been a disappointment so far in his first season for Pumas. They will be hoping Andres Lillini gets something out of the match and can build up for a return to Liga MX, where they hope to defeat Juarez in was looks to have the return of fans to their home stadium.