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In the Liga MX Clausura 2022-23 season, Club America were aiming to secure their 15th league title, but the dream turned into a nightmare for them as they reached the playoff semi-finals only to lose the El Super Clasico against arch-rivals CD Guadalajara. The Apertura 2023-24 season has only just begun, and Club America have made a shaky start after losing their opening game, but instantly bounced back with a win in the next.
While Club America are veterans of their domestic league, they will be up against MLS newcomers St. Louis City SC. Despite it being their debut season in the Western Conference of the league, St. Louis City SC are leading their division with 41 points in 23 games. They are four points clear of defending MLS champions Los Angeles FC but did lose 3-0 against them earlier this month.
As this will be the first-ever encounter between these two teams, it will be tough to predict the outcome. However, St. Louis City SC are in a tight spot after losing their opening group stage encounter, which could drive the club to a crucial victory.
Club America and St. Louis City SC have never clashed in any tournament or league. The 2023 Leagues Cup will set the stage for the maiden encounter between these two strong sides who are looking to stamp their authority on the competition.
After losing to CD Guadalajara in the Clausura playoffs, Club America failed to bounce back with a win to mark the start of the new Apertura season, as they went down against FC Juarez. However, they did recover in the second match with a 3-0 win over Puebla.
Before losing to Columbus Crew in the Leagues Cup, St. Louis City SC entered the MLS break with just one loss in five games, during which they also kept three clean sheets. Apart from that one loss against Los Angeles FC, St. Louis City SC have been close to flawless this year.
The latest Apertura phase of the Liga MX has only recently begun, but Club America are already six points off the top of the table. To make matters worse, the current league leaders are their arch-rivals and 2022-23 Clausura runners-up, CD Guadalajara.
Club America have a game in hand, but even a win in that game will keep them three points adrift of their rivals. However, the focus has now shifted to the Leagues Cup, during which coach Andre Jardine can roll the dice and see what works best for his team.
The winning mentality of Club America will certainly make them aim for the trophy in this competition, but figuring out the best tactics for the Leagues Cup and Liga MX will be crucial. Hence, seeing a different-than-usual team selection for the next game will not be surprising.
Two months ago, Club America’s attacking department was dealt a blow when Jonathan Rodriguez was ruled out for a lengthy period because of surgery on his right knee. The Uruguayan only featured in four games, scoring just a solitary goal.
Another blow in the same department came earlier this month when Alex Zendejas suffered a calf injury almost two weeks ago. Although his injury is not as serious as Rodriguez’s, the 25-year-old is doubtful for Club America’s upcoming Leagues Cup games.
Despite missing two crucial attackers, Club America’s concerns have been reduced by the signing of Julian Quinones. With Rodriguez and Zendejas injured and Henry Martin away on international duty, Quinones is expected to handle the striker’s job all by himself.
The former Atlas attacker has already made his mark in Liga MX by scoring and assisting on his debut against Puebla just before the commencement of the Leagues Cup. Expectations are high because Quinones scored 12 goals in 17 games for Atlas last season.
MLS debutants St. Louis City SC are enjoying their first season in the domestic league. Going into the break at the top of the division is already a major accomplishment for the side. However, they will not like to take their foot off the gas now and go for the jugular in every game.
Despite losing the opening game of the Leagues Cup, St. Louis City SC still have a slender chance of qualifying for the knockout phase. But they will have to beat Club America to claim one of the precious 32 knockout spots in the competition.
The club will be eager to add a trophy to their cabinet in the very first year of top-tier club football. They had a chance to do that in the US Open Cup this season but were eliminated in the fourth round. In the Leagues Cup, St. Louis City SC are expected to give it their all.
The MLS season for St. Louis City SC started perfectly, as they won five games in a row before encountering their first defeat in the league. A key figure behind the team’s success in the initial phase was striker Joao Klauss.
The Brazilian attacker scored five goals and pocketed a couple of assists in nine appearances before picking up a muscle injury in May. Since then, the goalscoring onus has been on Nicholas Gioacchini, who has scored eight in 23 appearances.
In 23 MLS games, St. Louis City SC have scored 43 goals. The record is not too bad, considering the fact that this is the team’s first season in the top division. Decent attacking prowess and agility up top has seen the club score 22 goals from open play.
Additionally, St. Louis City SC have also been a constant threat from set pieces. 11 of the 43 goals have come via set pieces, while a couple have been scored from direct free kicks. Hence, Club America cannot afford to give away cheap corners or free kicks in their defensive third.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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