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America and Toluca share points in 2-2 draw

The Aguilas visited ‘El Infierno’ and were lucky to salvage a point as the team struggled Saturday night.

America Vs Toluca Football Semifinal - MX League Photo credit should read Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images

A thrilling night ended in a 2-2 draw for America and Toluca where the ‘Red Devils’ had the ‘Aguilas’ trailing all night. America did not look good on either side as their defense was porous and their offense could not finish their opportunities. Both now move onto Week 3 with Toluca visiting Guadalajara and America receiving Puebla.

America were more insistent within the first few minutes of the game, although they were unable to get a shot on target. It looked like they might actually score until a defensive mistake led to a Toluca score. In the 8th minute, Marcel Ruiz went up the right side and took a shot that Oscar Jimenez initially blocked, but a lurking Charly Gonzalez was there to get the rebound. Emilio Lara should’ve been marking Gonzalez; instead the youngster allowed Gonzalez to beat him to the rebound. The goal was a defensive mistake that was not the last the Aguilas defense would make.

It would only take eight minutes for America to draw even when Henry Martin passed the ball in the penalty box to an open Brian Rodriguez, whose initial shot hit the Toluca keeper and unfortunately for Tiago Volpi, the ball deflected backwards into the goal. There was nothing Volpi nor his teammates could do. Less than 20 minutes into the game and it was already tied 1-1.

For the next few minutes, the game went back and forth until the ‘Red Devils’ took the lead again due to another defensive error from America. Maximiliano Araujo went up the flank and was able to beat out Luis Fuentes, sending in a cross that Carlos Orrantia volleyed into the back of the net. After this goal, the game settled a bit as Toluca played more defensive with a frustrated ‘Aguilas’ that trailed once again.

The start of the second half wasn’t much different to the first. Both America and Toluca had many chances to score but neither could get the ball to the back of the net. The ‘Aguilas’ had trouble on both ends of the ball. It was as if their defense couldn’t do their jobs and at times seemed hesitant to defend, getting lucky Toluca didn’t capitalize. A big part of that was keeper Oscar Jimenez. He’s now taken the starting position after Guillermo Ochoa’s departure and was able to keep the game from getting out of hand.

It wasn’t until after the 70th minute when America found the equalizer. The Red Devils committed a foul outside of their own penalty area, and on the free kick Diego Valdes was brought down inside the box. VAR came into play and it did not take long for the referee to come to a decision and point to the spot. Upon the decision, Henry Martin took charge and grabbed the ball, making it clear to everyone who the penalty taker would be. It was great of him to do that, but up until that point neither he nor his teammates had shown up for most of the game, a worrisome situation. Thankfully, Martin did not hesitate and kicked the ball into the corner with power, sending keeper Volpi flying in the other direction.

The game finished in a 2-2 draw, and while it was an entertaining clash between the two sides, it did raise many questions, mostly for America. It’s only the second week, but the defense has not performed well thus far. The backline has welcomed Israel Reyes after he signed for the team during the offseason and seem to be adjusting to their new teammate. Then there’s the issue of the forwards who can’t capitalize on their chances. Proof of this the scoreless draw with Queretaro, who were the worst team in the league last season. It’s only the first two games, so America have a bit of leeway, but need to clean up fast if they want to bring home the 14th trophy.