Club America heads to Puebla to take on La Franja tonight (5:00 PM PT/7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET) with the opportunity to end the regular season in first place with a win. While a win may not seem important, considering they have already secured a liguilla spot, a win will give them better placement when the liguilla does start.
A positive sign for America tonight is that no players were injured during the international break. That’s always a big fear for clubs and thankfully all players came back in good condition to play the final game of the regular season. Now the next biggest issue is the lineup. Does Fernando ‘Tano’ Ortiz play his usual lineup or does he give minutes to players that usually stay on the bench? It all depends on what kind of result Tano is looking for tonight. If he wants a positive one, he should field the following lineup:
Ochoa; Lara, Caceres, Araujo, Fuentes; Fidalgo, Sanchez, Valdes; Zendejas, Martin, Rodriguez.
Players like Miguel Layun, Pedro Aquino, Roger Martinez, Bruno Valdez, and Federico Viñas have been inserted in the starting lineup in previous games and, for the most part, have made it difficult for Tano to choose a lineup. The only player out of those five listed that should be a definite no is Layun. It just doesn’t make sense why he keeps starting when he’s shown he lacks the quality and consistency to have that role. Layun performs better as a sub. There is always that one player that coaches start even though it leaves people scratching their heads, and Layun is one of them. It wouldn’t be surprising if he starts tonight.
Even though Puebla have already secured a spot in the repechaje, they are now battling to secure sixth place by defeating America and hoping for a Toluca loss. The latter might be a bit difficult, considering Toluca is facing last place Queretaro, who have only won one game all season. Even with the difficult task of facing America, Puebla are playing at home where they have pulled out two draws in the last two games against them. They’ve also not suffered a loss when playing at home all season, winning three and drawing five. It’s the draws that’ve hurt the home side. They have 10 draws in total this season, which is the most any team has. If they could’ve won at least half of those, there’d be a huge possibility Puebla would be playing for a top four spot. Instead they’re fighting for better placement in the repechaje where anything can happen.