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Clasico Preview: Pumas vs America

Pumas needs to bounce back in their biggest match after embarrassing themselves against Barcelona.

FC Barcelona v Pumas UNAM - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Pumas and America face off tonight (8:05 ET / 7:05 CT) in the Clasico Capitalino, the first clasico played in the 2022 Apertura. Pumas comes in as the only undefeated team of Liga MX but they only have a single victory and even worse, come off an embarrassing performance in the Joan Gamper Cup against Barcelona. Club America will come in after their 2nd victory of the season but have struggled in all matches including their last win against FC Juarez, where Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa had to come up with big saves to preserve the victory.

Pumas must be very hyped they’re facing America at probably the best possible time. After many of their fans were over the moon to be chosen as the team to play in the 2022 Joan Gamper Cup against Barcelona, their dreams came crashing down just minutes after the match started. Pumas quite simply was embarrassed as they got crushed 6-0 in a score that actually flattered their performance. Coach Andres Lillini did a terrible job planning the match and went with an offensive lineup that Barcelona exploited from the first minute. On the big European stage, Pumas left a very sour taste in fans’s mouths and things were worse with criticism from people like Hugo Sanchez, especially with reports that players had taken pictures with Barca coach Xavi before the match. Thus, Pumas has a great opportunity to bounce back from the criticism but also the danger that a loss will send the team spiraling.

Club America got their second victory of the season after a 2-1 win at home against FC Juarez. America had some great moments during their tour of the United States facing Euro opposition, but have failed to transfer any of them to Liga MX, where they have yet to live up to expectations. Their victory against Juarez was a boost, but the fact Guillermo Ochoa had to step up to save the win at home against a struggling team like Juarez wasn’t a good sign. Thus, like Pumas, they have a great opportunity to get a win that changes their momentum as they face their city rivals in Pumas, but a bad result could have the opposite effect.

Pumas and America will each face a tough match tonight. It’s one of the biggest rivalries and because of the notoriety of their supporter groups, it’s considered the most dangerous match in Mexican football (although the recent terrible acts between Atlas and Queretaro might have pushed that rivalry ahead). To further add to it, the fact it’s being played at night might not be the best decision either. However, it should still be an interesting match where both teams are in dire need of redemption, which hopefully means they both go for it from the starting whistle.