The End is Near: An Americanista's Take on a Frustrating Night
The first leg of the Apertura Final left a lot to be desired. If I were a teacher, like my colleague Danny, and were able to grade this match I’d give the game a D-. It would have been an F but a few great diving stops by both goalies and the pushing and shoving after the whistle was blown gave us some excitement.
América came to play but were slowed by the frustrating play of Renato Ibarra and Diego Lainez. The Aguilas gave too much respect to Cruz Azul’s counter attack and forced Paul Aguilar and Jorge Sanchez to stay back instead of pushing forward.
Cruz Azul entered the match with one goal in mind, get out of Leg 1 with a draw. Cruz Azul didn’t want any part of going toe-to-toe with América and stuck to their game plan. In the End, Cruz Azul did have some opportunity to score but looked exhausted by the end of the match after parking the bus against América’s attack. Elias Hernandez and Roberto Alverado, though lauded for their performance in this game by some, struggled mightily and should be cause for concern for Cruz Azul as neither player was able to provide much-needed support on the offensive side of the ball.
The only participant of the match that had any impact on the result was the referee in charge: he played with his whistle all night long. He missed crucial calls, kept the cards in his pocket too often and lost control of the game before he stuck his instrument back in his mouth and blew the final whistle.
The best news to come out of Leg 1 is that the injuries sustained by two of the Club América’s best players appeared to not be as serious as initially feared. Tremendous news for the team and players especially for Uribe, after initial concerns were that there may be ligament damage.
For América, the ball is now in Piojo Herrera’s court. What does he do? Who does he play? Many options are available to him. He can switch the players man for man, meaning Henry Martin or Oribe Peralta come on for Roger, while Ibarguen comes in for Uribe. Or he can go back to the line up with 5 defenders and counter attack.
If this game ends in a tie after regulation, as mentioned on Episode 41, this shouldn’t be decided by penalty kicks. Marchesin and Corona should fight to decide which team lifts the trophy. Both guys need to shut up and play. Throughout this season key matchups have not lived up to the hype, but stayed tuned because this final game will be on another level.
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.