Club América Struggles Highlighted in Champions Cup

It was a disappointing and frustrating night for Club América, who was left perplexed at the Estadio Azteca. After drawing 1-1 to Pachuca in the 1st leg of the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinal, the team will feel that they came up short on the night. As for Pachuca, they will feel that they got the job done and now look forward to killing off the Concacaf giants at home.

It was a game filled with hard-fought tackles and intuitive tactics that left plenty of key takeaways for América to reflect on.

The biggest takeaway is the lack of advantage they will have next week on the road to Estadio Hidalgo. Meaning everything will be left to play for Las Aguilas in a ground that has haunted them in knockout competitions.

Club América Struggled vs. Pachuca: Champions Cup Key Takeaways

Continued Struggles in the Air

Club América at times this season has looked invincible being defensively sound and offensively deadly. Yet for as good as they’ve been this team shown that their Achilles heel continues to be areal balls into the box. Pachuca made good note of this and capitalized on their set piece opportunities. Scoring a goal that would eventually deflate America’s spirit for the remainder of the match.

After last night’s goal, América in this competition alone has conceded a total of five headers. A running theme for this team not just in Champions Cup but in league play as well. It seems that André Jardine has just not been able to figure out a solution to the one main area of weakness for this team. With everything to play for next week it will be interesting to see if América can find a quick fix solution to their main problem.

Players Running on Fumes

As the game progressed América slowly looked to be out of ideas and out of gas. The first half America had a clear intent, go forward open up spaces with quick short passes and jump the line. All went well up to the point where Pachuca scored which lead to players heads going down.

The second half had promising signs for America but once Pachuca sat deep America just fell short of ideas and tired legs began to play a role. Players like Diego Valdes, Julian Quiñones and even Henry Martin looked all to be running on fumes at time. Which became even more evident as the team began to miss place passes, giveaway possession or just plainly have no creative idea to beat the low block Pachuca had.

After the game, Alvaro Fidalgo spoke in the mix zone and confirmed the physical and mental drain the players had, but told reporters it was still no excuse. With America having faced Pumas in a tough contested Clásico Capitalino and then having to quickly turn around and play a tough contested semifinal it was clear this team struggled with rest.

It is not the first time this season that they have had to weather a storm of games in quick succession. The team will have to learn from previous spells of games and find their second wind to ensure they close the most important part of their season with a win next week.

No Advantage to Take on the Road

Throughout this Concacaf Champions Cup competition, Club América has had the luxury of closing off series at home. Only one time where they ever chasing the game (against Real Esteli) and the other instances the argument could be made that the series was wrapped up before the second leg at home. For the first time the roles are reversed for América.

They do not have that cushion of being able to use home field advantage but instead need to find a way to close the series on the road chasing the game. Which is why this team will feel frustrated that they where unable to take a sustainable advantage on the road.

Not only did they fail to win, but they let Pachuca score a valuable away goal that pins them to the wall. While the result is not terrible, América will feel there was more they should of done on the night, but will have to live with the consequences of coming up short in the first leg.

Last Words in Extra Time

In the looming return leg, America faces a daunting challenge away at Pachuca. At a venue rife with past disappointments the echo’s of the first leg disappointment will be felt throughout the week. The team’s vulnerability to aerial threats was exposed yet again, leaving them with a result that they will not be proud of.

As fatigue sets in, America must rapidly address these defensive lapses and rejuvenate a weary squad. With everything to play for, the stage is set for either a heroic turnaround or another bitter exit. This pivotal match will either carve a path to redemption or add to the series of missed opportunities in crucial games.

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