Club America started their preseason on a good note by defeating Liga MX finalist Santos Laguna by a score of 1-0. The friendly was played in Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake. It was the typical pr season friendly, with a lot of substitutions and a relatively low level of play as both teams looked typically rusty. Club America will now play against Atlas on Wednesday in San Jose, California.
The first half started with America coming out with the return of Miguel Layun and the debut of Fernando Madrigal with his new team. After a couple of even minutes, a great pass from Mauro Lainez found Roger Martinez, who then went on to get past two Santos’ defenders to get a right footed shot past goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo for the 1-0 lead. America continued to dominate possession as they played on a field that was constantly getting filled with yellow balloons from America’s supporters. In an incredible thing Ronaldo Prieto would quickly get two yellow cards to get sent off after 26 minutes. This brought the outrage of Santos’ coach Guillermo Almada, who went to the field to protest and started a minor scuffle. The referee also red carded the coach in a play that totally looked like it would change the game’s usefulness as a friendly. Although down a man and with no coach, Santos started to play their better football and had some chances. The halftime whistle blew and the game remained with the America lead.
The second half started with both teams making numerous substitutions, as is expected in these types of pre season friendlies. Santos missed a great chance when Jordan Carrillo rose to head a cross but his wide open header went wide. Santos then made more moves including subbing out goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo for Gibran Lajud. In the most notable moment of the match, Nicolas Castillo got subbed in for Mauro Lainez. Castillo thus was playing his first match after a terrible ordeal where an injury and later a blood clot in his leg had his life in peril and him out for more than a year. After a cross into the area, Castillo was wide open but he missed the ball with his header, wasting a good opportunity. Later Jesus Isijara got into the area but his left footed shot was saved by America’s goalkeeper, Oscar Jimenez. Sebastian Caceres would waste a great opportunity when he got a free header in the area but it went wide. Castillo would have the ball in the area but it would just get out of his reach in time for Lajud to get to the ball. It was the last as the last minutes remained to end in a win for America.
Club America had a good start to their preseason in which they gave their fans a thrill as they start a season in which they hope to bounce back. The highlight has to be the return of Nico Castillo to playing football. Besides that, there isn’t much to get out of the first preseason friendly, even more so when Santos had to play most of the match with 10 players. Still America had some flashes and will hope that they improve as they play against Atlas in San Jose.