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Welcome to the start of Liga MX’s 2021 Apertura season!
Following a short break, Mexican soccer’s 1st division will kick things off with Queretaro vs Club America on Thursday night.
While Queretaro will be a work in progress, America should aim to build off of their early success under the leadership of Santiago Solari.
There are too many questions regarding Queretaro, and in spite of some of their interesting new additions, the roster turnover will need at least a few weeks before it’s truly settled.
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|Queretaro vs Club America Information|
|Teams||Queretaro vs Club America|
|Location||Estadio Corregidora (Queretaro, Mexico)|
|Time||Thursday, July 22nd at 10:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||TUDN|
How did both teams do last season?
For America, the 2021 Clausura was a promising one. With Solari leading the team in his first-ever Liga MX tournament, the Mexico City giants finished 2nd in the league table.
Despite a quick exit in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, it became obvious that there was a solid foundation created by the former Real Madrid coach.
But what about Queretaro?
Thanks to a new rule that extends playoff invitations to the top 12, Queretaro were the last to sneak into the wildcard round.
Just ahead of 13th place Mazatlan through a better goal differential, a spot at 12th was somehow secured after only earning six wins over 17 matches.
Once in the wildcard round though, Queretaro were ultimately smashed 5-0 by Santos Laguna.
By the time the summer rolled around, significant squad alterations began to take place that will likely continue to impact the team for at least a few weeks.
According to reports, a whopping total of 15 players will be brought in (or brought back) for the 2021 Apertura.
Which means that plenty had to leave Queretaro as well.
17 is the number that’s currently been making the rounds in sports papers when it comes to players from last season that won’t be returning for the 2nd half of the year.
At the very least, manager Hector Altamirano is going to need a few games to figure out his best system or options.
Almost as if it were a sign of needing to sort things out, Queretaro’s final preparation game ended in a 2-0 loss to Necaxa over the weekend…
With an announcement in late December of 2020 that he would take charge, Solari literally had a week or so to prepare America for last season.
And despite his critics who pointed out his lack of coaching experience in Mexico, the Argentine quickly found a way to thrive in Liga MX.
Through a practical style of play, America were one of the more consistent clubs of the Clausura.
Now, Solari will have had a full summer to prepare and adjust his approach to the team.
Luckily for him, he’s also brought some reinforcements.
Even without a few key players that are currently on Mexican national team duty at the Olympics, America have enough depth to outplay Queretaro.
In support, some new/old faces could have an influence as well.
Veteran defender and former player Miguel Layun has returned and will immediately bring a valuable amount of experience and versatility.
Up-and-coming defender Salvador Reyes has been brought into the mix, as has the well-rounded Fernando Madrigal into the midfield.
Coupled with a supposedly healthy and revived squad, America will be incredibly strong this season.
Up against Queretaro, Solari shouldn’t have any problems.
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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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