America hit the road again as they face Mazatlan tonight (7:05 PM PT/9:05 PM CT/10:05 PM ET). Mazatlan have a chance to make their way back into a spot in the repechaje with a win while America fight to stay in the top four.
Mazatlan are coming off two consecutive 1-1 draws. They faced Juarez last week where they scored in the first 10 minutes of the game and then gave up a goal in the first two minutes of the second half. Even though they don’t hold most of ball possession, they have been able to score with the few opportunities they’ve created. When they do hold the lead, Mazatlan seem to crumble and concede goals which is what happened in four of their five draws.
America faced Queretaro a few days ago and won 1-0, the lowest scoring game they’ve had in weeks. Queretaro head coach Mauro Gerk did say his side was ready to give the visitors a hard time, and they did. The only goal came in the 48th minute when Henry Martin tried to head the ball towards the net to no avail, but Emilio Lara did the right thing by following the ball and kicking it past goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez. If it wasn’t for Queretaro’s backline, it could’ve been another high scoring night for the Aguilas.
With five consecutive wins and 16 goals, America are only three points away from first place Monterrey, which is a vastly different position than where they were at the beginning of the month. At the beginning of August, America were near the bottom of the table, Henry Martin had barely netted his first goals of the season, and Emilio Lara was fighting to earn a starting role. Fast forward three weeks and the Aguilas are in fourth, Henry Martin has six goals with two consecutive braces, and Emilio Lara not only earned his starting role, but has been an important part of America’s recent success. He also scored his first goal against Queretaro and to top it all off, he received a call up to the Mexican National Team for its friendly against Paraguay.
Unfortunately, Lara’s availability is in question. He was subbed out in the 67th minute against Queretaro after he went down with an apparent injury. While the club’s twitter account has said he is recovering, it’s unknown if he will be healthy enough to play. His absence would be a big hit to America.