Keys to Victory - Pumas vs. Club América
Tonight Club América and Pumas face off in the first leg of a playoff version of El Clasico Capitalino. This fierce rivalry is intense in the regular season so naturally I’m expecting fireworks in the semi-final edition. Here are my keys to tonight’s matchup between the two inter-city teams.
If Pumas hope to get the win they must:
Attack the right side of the pitch. Right back Jorge Sanchez is inexperienced and still not quite 100% since his injury. When paired with Center Back Emanuel Aguilera who is constantly out of position, this should grant Pumas ample opportunities to score.
Push forward when América begins its attack from the back. Las Aguilas have given up easy opportunities and Pumas would do well to expose that weakness.
Follow all your shots! Take full advantage of all the second-chance opportunities. América has been caught ball-watching on those opportunities too many times this season.
Be aggressive! Winning the time of possession battle will lead to drawing fouls. Club América is very aggressive and wants to get the ball out when on defense.
Antagonize Marchesin. Marchesin is an emotional player. If Pumas is able to get under his skin they can get him to commit a a careless foul that may lead to a penalty or suspension.
If Club América hopes to get the win:
Start with Herrera. As mentioned in an earlier post this week (link) Piojo may be loyalto a fault. It’s time to bench Dominquez in favor of Ibarra or Ibarguen. Dominguez continues to play a selfish style of soccer, and América needs players who buy in completely.
Be the aggressor! Resist the urge to drop back and defend. Pumas have an electric offensive attack; don’t allow them to get into a rhythm
Don’t let Pablo Barrera beat you. Barrera is the engine of Pumas’ offensive attack. He creates opportunities easily. Make someone else beat you.
Build from the middle. Develop play from the center of the pitch. Pumas’ left and right backs are aggressive and fast. Force the defense to crash the middle and finish the attack on the outside.
It ends with Herrera. Piojo must read the rhythm of the game properly. If it’s a fast-paced match the Pumas’ defense will be fatigued in the second half. Piojo would do well to silence the critics by managing the match properly. And more importantly, a good result heading into leg 2 will put the finals in clear view.
Anthony Garcia is the lead soccer analyst of the El Three Podcast. He lives for the game and is unafraid to share his passion with anyone bold enough to listen.