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What happens when the most successful Liga MX team of all time hosts the worst-performing one from last season? We’ll find out this Saturday when San Luis makes the trip over to the historic Estadio Azteca to face off against America.
America is undeniably the favorites here, and although they recently dropped Miguel “Piojo” Herrera as manager over the winter, there’s plenty of promise about the hiring of Real Madrid ex-coach Santiago Solari. America has also brought in intriguing players who can quickly become starters like Mauro Lainez and Pedro Aquino.
San Luis didn’t make any major headlines for any of their winter transfers — other than perhaps Lucas Passerini — and won’t be expected to accomplish much this season.
This has an America victory written all over it.
America for the win (-200)
|Club America vs San Luis Information|
|What||Club America vs San Luis|
|Where||Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, Mexico)|
|When||Saturday, January 9th at 10:00 PM ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN|
The soccer gods have been kind to Solari when it comes to his first test as America manager. Instead of facing a giant like Tigres, Leon or Monterrey, the new head coach will get a chance to make a great first impression against the weakest team of the 2020 Apertura, San Luis.
San Luis were a dismal side to watch last season. With 3 wins in 17 games — and a league-worst 35 goals allowed — the Rojiblancos dropped to the very bottom of the league table. With majority ownership through Atletico Madrid, many wondered if those in charge would drop some cash to invigorate the side for 2021.
Instead, they sold their best striker, Mauro Quiroga, and brought in Passerini as an underwhelming replacement. Although a few other new faces like Javier Guemez and Jhon Duque will also be a part of the setup, it’s difficult to assume that San Luis will make many improvements from last season.
As for America…
Let’s start with Aquino. Aggressive, surprisingly fast, and with the ability to string together accurate passes, the Peruvian highlighted last season why he was considered one of the best defensive midfielders in Liga MX. After winning a title with Leon, he’ll now have a chance to carry one of the elite teams in the region.
Alongside him in the midfield is Lainez. Once only known as the older brother of Diego Lainez — one of the more gifted prospects in Mexican soccer — Mauro recently made a name for himself with Club Tijuana as a versatile and pacey figure who could play nearly anywhere on the left flank.
If we’re looking for a potential breakout star this season, Alan Medina is also worthy of a mention. Despite the fact that he might not be an immediate starter this weekend, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 23-year-old with excellent link-up play make an impact off the bench this Saturday.
As mentioned earlier, not much has significantly changed in the favor of San Luis since finishing in last place last season. They dropped Quiroga and their reinforcements are fairly average.
Looking at the sidelines, it’s also up in the air if new manager Leonel Rocco will be able to make this team greater than the sum of its parts. Through a short coaching career that started in 2015, this will be his first stint in Liga MX after starting off in Uruguay’s first division.
The San Luis structure could eventually work and fix itself through hard-working players like German Berterame, Camilo Mayada, and Pablo Barrera, but it’ll undoubtedly take some time.
With an unfortunate injury sidelining Mexico striker Raul Jimenez for the indefinite future, the battle for El Tri’s striker position for upcoming games in 2021 has now opened up to a few different names.
In theory, Javier Hernandez should be next in line, but he must rediscover his goalscoring form with the LA Galaxy once the MLS season restarts. Chivas’ Jose Juan Macias, who had a less-than-exciting 2020 Apertura, still has plenty to prove. And America’s Henry Martin? Well, there’s now a chance for him to climb a couple of spots up the depth chart for the national team.
After collecting eight goals and an assist last season, the well-rounded striker should now be more than motivated to hit the ground running for America in the 2021 Clausura. Up against San Luis, he’ll have an uncomplicated path for at least a goal or two.
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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