It’s only the first week and Liga MX is already proving anything can happen as America were held to a scoreless draw by Queretaro. Yes, the Apertura’s worst team held the leaders to a draw. The ‘Aguilas’ could not finish their chances and didn’t start the season the way they hoped they would after a difficult loss in the semifinals last season.
Even before the game started, many were a bit confused with the starting lineup. Henry Martin, their leading goal-scorer last season, started the game on the bench while Miguel Layun got the start. Layun is a player that has left many wondering why he’s still part of the team, but fans will have to deal with him for a while longer as he signed an extension during the offseason. Israel Reyes was also given the start in his first official game with the azulcremas after also signing during the offseason; the best one America made during the winter.
America had the first shot of the game when three minutes in, Luis Fuentes had his cross he blocked by Kevin Balanta. Gallos de Queretaro had the next opportunity, but Angel Sepulveda’s shot went over the top of the goal. They had a couple more opportunities a few minutes later, but both ended in a shot attempt going wide. While the visitors did not create many chances, they were so close to scoring in the ones they did. For the next 20+ minutes, America had chance after chance to open the scoring, but could not capitalize on any. That was until the 45th minute, when Alejandro Zendejas pounced and scored his first goal of the season. The score was eventually overturned after further review showed the ball touched his left hand before the ball went into the net. This meant the Aguilas would have to turn things around in the second half if they wanted the three points.
The second half started the same with Alcala forced make a save, followed by Queretaro’s chance next, but Sepulveda’s header was saved by Oscar Jimenez. Pedro Aquino also tried, but his header was saved. ‘Tano’ Ortiz then made a much needed change by bringing on Federico Viñas. While the offense did need a change, it was odd Henry Martin wasn’t substituted, and now he would have to wait for his season debut. Martin didn’t make his appearance until the 69th minute and created more chances in the limited time he was given than other players who saw more minutes. In his time on the pitch (20 min), Martin recorded five shots while Zendejas had four and Brian Rodriguez three.
The rest of the game continued on as the first half, with America not able to convert any of they chances. They held 66% of the possession compared to Queretaro’s 33%, and had 26 shots compared to Queretaro’s 7. It’s unbelievable that not one of those shots made it to the back of the net. America were lucky the visitors weren’t able to convert, considering they came close many times. It’s only the first game of the season, so it’s a bit unfair to heavily criticize America or any team for that matter, but the game should’ve been squared away and feels more like a loss than a draw. Queretaro walk away with a point and will move on to visit Puebla on Friday while America visit Toluca on Saturday to face the Red Devils for a rematch of the Apertura 2022 semifinals.