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America suffers a tough loss at home against reigning champs Pachuca

While there were some controversial calls, the Aguilas were not at all prepared as the Tuzos came into Estadio Azteca and left with all three points.

America v Pachuca - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

It was a night to forget for America, as it only took 30 minutes for Pachuca to go up by three goals and ultimately take the win. Yes, there were some very questionable calls and noncalls by the referee, but ultimately America were not able to come back from a horrible first half and suffered their first loss of the season. The Aguilas will have to dust themselves off as they prepare to face Tigres next week, while Pachuca will play in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday and face top-seeded Monterrey three days later in league play.

The game was always going to be an intense one for sure, but no one could’ve expected it would turn out the way that it did. America had the first shot of the game within 30 seconds as Henry Martin passed off a ball to Leo Suarez, whose shot did not end up in the back of the net. Pachuca got their first opportunity of the match in the second minute, and not long after that, two minutes to be exact, they opened the scoring in the Estadio Azteca.

Kevin Alvarez sent a pass into the box where Roberto de la Rosa flicked the ball back to ‘La Chofis’ Lopez who did not hesitate to shoot the ball past Oscar Jimenez for the first goal of the night. Once again like in past games, the America defense failed as no player stepped up to stop Lopez. While it was not the way the Aguilas would have wanted to start the night, it was barely five minutes into the game and they had another 85 left to equalize and even win the game. Unfortunately that was not the case, and it was going to be a long night for the home team. It only took eight more minutes for the night to go badly for the Aguilas as the Tuzos from Pachuca doubled their lead due to a mistake from goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez.

Initially Aviles Hurtado took the ball into the box and was able to get around America defenders to pass the ball to Jesus Hernandez, who sent the ball between the legs of Jimenez for the second goal of the night. It was a mistake by the goalkeeper but it was still early enough to change things. Six minutes later a change came when America was awarded a corner kick and Israel Reyes headed the ball past Oscar Ustari. Unfortunately the goal was rightfully reversed, as the ball hit Reyes’ hand before going in. It was disappointing, but the Aguilas quickly shook it off as they scored once again three minutes later. After a mistake by Luis Chavez in the midfield, who attempted to head the ball back to one of his teammates, Henry Martin got hold of the ball and put it past Ustari. This goal was reversed, but it was the wrong decision. Martin was not offside, as a Pachuca player touched the ball last and not an America player. The call was a tough blow for America.

To make things worse for the home team, the Tuzos scored a third goal 10 minutes later that ultimately sealed the deal.

Luis Chavez took the initial shot which was blocked by Jimenez, but Roberto de la Rosa was right there and was able to get to the rebound for the third goal of the night. Once again Jimenez made a mistake and after this one the home crowd was heard booing anytime he touched the ball. Coming back from two goals is one thing, but coming back from three goals is something different. The Aguilas were going to need a spark if they were going to have any chance of getting back into the game.

Most people expected changes for America going into the second half, but that was not the case. The same lineup came out when head Coach ‘Tano’ Ortiz should have made changes. The game was not at all in their favor, and the right move would’ve been substitutions but they did not come. That decision to not make substitutions to start the second half was a mistake itself. Changes did not happen until the 60th minute. There was still 30 minutes to go but asking the team to make things happen so quickly was not going to happen, especially since they were already down by three goals.

In the 63rd minute another controversial noncall was made when Miguel Layun took a shot that hit the arm of Pachuca player Israel Luna, but the referee did not call it even though it was a hand ball. From there, America had chance after chance to at least get a goal back or maybe two, but that did not happen. The Tuzos defense was there every step of the way, and America just could not break through it. Another noncall came in the closing minutes of the game as Luis Chavez made his way into the penalty area and was taken down by Israel Reyes. The referee claimed it was only two players clashing, when in reality it wasn’t. Reyes and America were lucky as the noncall was in their favor this time around. The officiating was terrible all throughout the game, but isn’t that what VAR is for? Unfortunately for both sides the officials were terrible for everyone and the game might have turned out a bit different if calls were made correctly.

This was the first loss America suffered this season, and it was in the worst way possible. The referee was bad, but the loss didn’t all come down to one bad call or noncall. The home team just could not get the job done while Pachuca did. Pachuca looked great offensively but were even more spectacular defensively. Tonight, Pachuca looked like a team ready to win the bicampeonato.