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Femenil: Club America looks towards Clausura 2023 after ending their Apertura season without a trophy

The Aguilas had a high caliber roster but were unable to win their second title.

America v Bayer Leverkusen - Friendly Match Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

The Apertura 2022 did not end the way Club America had hoped and now they look towards the Clausura 2023 after a disappointing showing in the final. The Aguilas were a strong contender at the beginning of the season with a high-caliber roster, but ultimately came apart after being shut out the entire final series.

The beginning of the season looked bright for the Aguilas with new signings and players coming back from injury. Players like Itzel Gonzalez, Aurelie Kaci, Andrea Pereira, and Andrea Falcon were new signings that bolstered the roster. The return of Alison Gonzalez helped bolster the club and it was obvious America were making a big push for a second title.

Alison Gonzalez signed with the team last year in December, but an injury sidelined her for some time and she was finally able to make her debut with the team in July. In her second game back, she recorded a brace and soon after was handed the captain armband, ending the season with 11 goals. It was evident ‘Aligol’ was back and ready to help the team make it to another final.

Gonzalez partnered up with Katty Martinez and Scarlett Camberos, looking to become a trio that would give nightmares to opposing defenses. However, this trio did not work out in the way many hoped and expected it to. When Martinez came back from international duty, she wasn’t the same player she was in past seasons. She came back with a small injury that thankfully did not sideline her too much time, but did hiner her when she finally made her way back onto the pitch. She missed multiple penalties and scoring opportunities, resulting in the loss of her starting role. Martinez did not find the back of the net until Week 16 in the Clasico Capitalino, where she scored four goals for a super hat-trick. Those handful of goals were the only ones she recorded in this season to forget.

That’s where Kiana Palacios came in and earned her way into the starting 11. Palacios made her way to America in the summer of 2021 before the start of the Apertura after a few seasons in Spain. In her first full year with America, she did not have a big impact on the team compared to this recent tournament. She saw time on the pitch, but only scored three goals and there were 14 games where she wasn’t even part of the gameday roster. Everything changed when Angel Villacampa came aboard. He gave her a chance and Palacios ran with it to earn her place in the starting lineup.

While the offense was bolstered, the defense was in need of some work. Their biggest struggles were set pieces and finishing off games. Whether it was goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez who would come off her line instead of trusting her defenders or players who would miss their marks, it was mistake after mistake with the backline. These kinds of mistakes cost them some games, with the biggest one in against rivals Guadalajara in Week 15. America took complete control of the game and found themselves up 2-0 on the road. Five minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the 90 minutes and that’s when things fell apart. Rubi Soto of Guadalajara scored off a set piece and a few minutes later, Araceli Torres scored off another that gave them the draw, and America once again dropped points when they didn’t need to. If Iztel didn’t come out, the ball most likely wouldn’t have gone in. A few weeks later, in the second leg of the semifinals, America almost lost the game due to defensive errors. It was evident Itzel Gonzalez was nervous as Guadalajara were close to making a comeback. This time, the Aguilas defense were able to hold on and they solidified their spot in the final.

After making a big statement in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, many people had high expectations for America. They were able to score nine goals over four games and looked very confident. Then they met Tigres in the final for a repeat of the Apertura 2018 final where America won their first title. The first half of the first leg at the Azteca was the best the Aguilas looked in the final. It was a back and forth half and was anybody’s game to win. That was until Tigres scored in the second half, and from there America were not the same. Their offense couldn’t break through the Tigres defense and their own defenders were having trouble containing their opponents. They allowed two more goals in the second leg, and the moment that goal went in, it was over; there was no getting back into the game. America were shut out and their hopes for a second trophy crushed.

Even though there were some issues with Angel Villacampa early in the season, he was able to lead America to a final in his first season with the team. With the Clausura right around the corner, there’s no doubt there’ll be some surprises coming out of Coapa. Some journalists are already saying there will be five or six players leaving the team, but no further details have been provided.

It sounds like there’s going to be a rough moment for America fans, but at the end of the day, the Sporting Director is going to make moves they feel are in the best interest of the club. It’s going to be a surprise who goes and who doesn’t, but all eyes are on a second championship for Angel Villacampa and America.