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It has been by the smallest of margins, but Club America have made things work under manager Santiago Solari.
Through a practical style of play that has earned narrow wins and low-scoring draws, they’ve found a way to remain as the only undefeated team left in Liga MX.
That should change by Saturday.
This weekend, they’ll not only have to make an away trip against the second-best team in the league but will also have a quick turnaround after playing in Philadelphia three days earlier.
An undefeated run has to end at some point, and for America, it appears as though this weekend would be the most likely scenario.
It’ll be close, but pick Toluca for the win.
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Why so much faith in Toluca?
Well for starters, after Week 8’s results, no team in Liga MX has scored more in the 2021 Apertura so far than Toluca.
At home, they’re averaging 2.3 goals per game this season. In the midfield and frontline, they have threatening attacking names such as Rubens Sambueza and Ian Gonzalez Nieto.
Gonzalez Nieto’s morale should be fairly high after finding the back of the net last week, but that said, if we’re truly looking at a game-changer, we must highlight Sambueza.
The veteran is not only Toluca’s best player but also arguably the top player in Liga MX this season.
Regardless of the fact that he’ll be 38 in just a few months, no Liga MX player has arguably had a bigger impact this season than Sambueza.
The Argentine has been incredible for Toluca, and in his eight appearances, he has collected four goals and five assists.
Sambueza can carry the team, and if needed to take charge, he won’t be intimidated by a high-profile opponent like America.
After previously playing for them for a few years, he’ll be accustomed to the intensity that is typically associated with America encounters.
Remember the conversation earlier about small margins? That’s been the theme for Solari this season, and he’s been able to collect points despite these narrow results.
It has worked for the most part, but this week, there might be too much on his plate.
With a strong roster during Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against the Philadelphia Union, Solari clearly prioritized the match — which ended in a 2-0 win.
In a battle that featured an incessant amount of defending, America’s roster clearly looked fatigued once the final whistle was blown.
After flying to Philadelphia and now needing to fly to Toluca to play three days later, those small margins won’t be enough to compensate against a team like Toluca.
Of their last five games at the Estadio Nemesio Diez, Toluca have earned four wins and just one draw.
They’ve allowed six goals along the way, but in response, they’ve been dominant with 12 goals in favor.
Keep in mind, one of their wins back in late April, was a 3-1 victory over America.
Toluca are a reliable side at home, and after brushing off Solari and America earlier in the year at the venue, they should be ready to do it once again this Saturday.
|Toluca vs Club America Information|
|Teams||Toluca vs Club America|
|Location||Estadio Nemesio Diez (Toluca, Mexico)|
|Time||Saturday, September 18th at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm 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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