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It’s tempting to look at a draw here.
Despite Club America’s brilliant start to the 2021 Apertura, they’ll now likely either have a depleted roster or at least a handful of tired players on their bench/XI this weekend.
Problem is, Mazatlan are average at best this season — and that might even be an overstatement.
They’re defensively feeble, and in the attack, they’re inconsistent with their scoring numbers.
Against almost any other Liga MX opponent, America would have been vulnerable, but against Mazatlan? There might not be too much hope for the visitors.
So who exactly could be missing or lacking some energy for America this weekend?
Due to the international break this month, several marquee names have had a busy schedule ahead of Saturday’s match.
Guillermo Ochoa, Jorge Sanchez, Sebastian Cordova, and Henry Martin will all be returning from Panama after taking part in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw for Mexico in World Cup qualifying.
Over in South America, Colombia’s Roger Martinez and Paraguay’s Richard Sanchez will also be coming back to Mexico City after being involved in World Cup qualifying as well.
That’s a long list of vital names, and yet, it might not be too problematic for manager Santiago Solari’s system to compensate for their absences.
Much credit is due to game-changers like Salvador Reyes, Alvaro Fidalgo, Ochoa, Cordova, and many others, but in the end, it’s Solari who has truly made the biggest impact.
Through a no-nonsense approach that has prioritized organization and pragmatism, America have yet to suffer a single loss this season.
Fans may not be getting the one-sided results that they have been calling out for, but it has undoubtedly paid dividends through a place at 1st as they head into the Liga MX weekend.
Without having to rely on individual efforts, Solari has now perfectly set himself up for a positive result — no matter who is available.
An inconsistent attack and fragile backline isn’t exactly the sign of a good team.
In defense, Mazatlan have allowed 10 goals in just their last four games. Heading into Week 8, only last-place Juarez have been scored on more than Mazatlan.
It’s a serious issue and one that has yet to be resolved by manager Benat San Jose.
With an average of 1.53 goals allowed per 90 minutes – America are at 0.39, for reference — it’s almost a guarantee Mazatlan will go down by at least one this Saturday.
Let’s say Ochoa is unavailable.
Due to his three-game stretch with Mexico’s national team, it might not be a controversial decision for Solari to bench the captain and club icon.
This would send some alarms ringing for countless America fans, but the good news is that Ochoa’s #2 has been in fine form when needed.
Oscar Jimenez, who stepped in for three games earlier this season, is an experienced keeper with excellent diving abilities that could easily take over if Ochoa is unavailable.
In those three aforementioned games, the 32-year-old was incredible with his average of 4.3 saves per 90 minutes that earned him two shut-outs and only one goal allowed.
Whether it be Ochoa or Jimenez, America will be in good hands.
|Club America vs Mazatlan Information|
|Teams||Club America vs Mazatlan|
|Location||Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, Mexico)|
|Time||Saturday, September 11th at 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN|
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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