Manchester City started their tour of the United States with a 2-1 win over Club America. It was a lively game at times, especially in the second half with a couple of chippy moments. America played well, but couldn’t overcome the gulf of talent as Man City dominated the match. The EPL team will now play another friendly against Bayern Munich, and America makes the relatively short trip from Houston to Tijuana to face Xolos this Saturday.
The first half started with America coming out with their best lineup while Manchester City had a lot of key players starting like Kevin De Bruyne. Erling Haaland, probably the player most viewers wanted to see, was on the bench however. America had the first opportunity when a chance was saved by Man City’s goalkeeper Stefan Ortega. Manchester City started to dominate possession, but were suffering from the field conditions not being optimal. Jack Grealish fell in the area and asked for a penalty. During the claims, he and goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa got into a small scuffle. After a couple of even minutes, America failed to get the ball off of De Bruyne, who then got off a great shot from outside the area that went past Ochoa for the 1-0 lead. America could have gotten their chances but failed to do so and paid the price on the first good shot from City. America subbed out Memo Ochoa in the 27th Minute for Oscar Jimenez in a rather surprising move to give Ochoa so little time. Man City had a great chance when America lost the ball and Julian Alvarez got it in the area, he then however lost it trying to get past the only America defender. Then after a great pass from Alejandro Zendejas, Henry Martin got the ball in the area and made a good move to get past Nathan Ake, getting off a left footed shot past Ortega for the 1-1 equalizer. Man City tried to answer with Grealish getting into the area, but his left footed shot went wide. Then just before half time, a pass into the area found Kevin De Bruyne, who got off a low shot between Jimenez’s legs for the 2-1 lead for the visitors. The surprising move of subbing out Ochoa probably cost America with this goal, as Manchester City regained the lead as they went into the halftime break.
The second half started with numerous changes. America subbed out Nestor Araujo, Luis Fuentes, Jorge Sanchez, Emilio Lara, Alejandro Zendejas, and Richard Sanchez for Sebastian Caceres, Mauricio Reyes, Miguel Layun, Bruno Valdez, Jürgen Damm, and Pedro Aquino. Meanwhile Manchester City subbed out Nathan Ake, Riyad Mahrez, and Joao Cancelo for Kelvin Phillips, Cole Palmer, and Josh Wilson-Esbrand. Minutes into the half, Grealish got into the area and forced Jimenez to come out but wasn’t able to get a shot off. Later he was able to get into the area and hit a left footed shot that was saved by Jimenez. De Bruyne then got a shot from outside the area, but Jimenez saved it. There was a harsh tackle on Grealish by Valdez that got him the yellow card, as it looked like America’s players had had it against Grealish. America subbed out Jonathan Dos Santos, Henry Martin, Alvaro Fidalgo, and Diego Valdes for Sebastian Martinez, Karel Campos, Iker Moreno, and Roman Martinez. This meant that America had completely subbed out their full starting eleven. The changes of course hurt America, and Manchester City had complete control of the ball as the Liga MX side sat back defensively. Manchester City subbed out Julian Alvarez and Kevin De Bruyne for Liam Delap and James McAtee. A cross by Wilson-Esbrand turned into a shot that Jimenez cleared, but he cleared it right to Palmer who sent the shot wide missing an empty net chance. Manchester City then subbed out Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish (who got booed by the whole stadium) for Rico Lewis and Kayky. There was a nice moment for America when Roman Martinez made a great play by lobbing the ball and heading it to get out past his defenders, although it only lead to a pass and a bad cross from Damm. It was the only bright moment of the second half for the home side, as the match continued to be the same with Man City dominating possession and America holding on to end the match with a respectable 2-1 loss.
It was a lively match at times, where America played well to face an overly superior team in Manchester City. The Premier League side dominated, but at times had to scramble to face America, who did well up until the halftime substitutions. Still it was a positive experience for the young players that came in, and although America has lost both friendly matches (they lost on Saturday against Chelsea), the fans have seen interesting sides in both games and will hope it keeps up before they return to Mexico to play against Tijuana and then going back to the United States to face Real Madrid in a friendly match in San Francisco.