MEXICAN LIGA MX · Sat (8/7) @ 5:00 pm ET
|Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, AL|
Seven of Liga MX’s 18 sides have no defeats in their first two Apertura matches, and Club América (1-0-1) is one of those squads. Apertura, or opening, is the first half of the Mexican top flight; Clausura, or closure, comprises the second half.
Their new keeper, Oscar Jiménez, has fared well in those two matches, stopping 10 of 11 shots on target—a 90.9% blockage rate that’s second in the league.
For someone with only nine career starts (including five clean sheets) before this season, that has rewarded management’s faith in the 32-year-old stopper.
What we find especially attractive is América’s recent run against Puebla, and the fine home record Las Águilas (the Eagles) have against these visitors.
Puebla +390 vs. Club América -145, Total 2½, Saturday, 8 pm ET
Action: Club América -145
Club América can legitimately call itself the most successful club side in CONCACAF, its region that includes Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. Its chief rival is Guadalajara.
In 18 Liga MX matches against Puebla, América has lost only three inside its Estadio Azteca, site of Saturday’s game. América is 7-3-8, with a lifetime goals-differential of 22-14, at one of the game’s more-imposing venues.
For its home opener, a 2-1 victory over Necaxa, América was allowed to have 9,590 fans inside its cavernous home whose official capacity is 88,000.
Lately, it has been no contest. In the past six Puebla-América matches at Azteca, the hosts have won all six, with an 11-4 goals edge.
The surprise of América, and possibly all of Liga MX, has been 23-year-old Mexican left back Salvador Reyes, who has tallied a goal (on a penalty kick) and dished out an assist.
His goals-plus-assists rate per 90 minutes is 1.65, second in the league. Reyes tallied three goals in 37 matches for Puebla last season, so Los Camoteros (yes, The Sweet Potatoers) know they’ll have to keep an eye on the 5-foot-10 defender. That might distract them from other parts of the pitch.
Well-Rounded América Attack
Having such a versatile threat is certainly unique, if not dangerous to the squad’s back-line security. But we see Spanish midfielder Álvaro Fidalgo, who scored América’s other goal this season, keeping Puebla’s defenders honest.
Mauro Línez, a 25-year-old Mexican midfielder, will also poke at Puebla. Christian Tabó, a 27-year-old Uruguayan striker, is Puebla’s danger man that América coach Santiago Solari must have his charges neutralize.
An attack featuring Fidalgo and Línez, with some scare tactics out of the back by Reyes—whose estimated transfer value of $2.2 million three months ago is rising by the match—and América’s recent successes against Puebla make the home side the overwhelming selection.