After having won the Liga MX Clausura 2013 tournament final over Mexico City rivals Cruz Azul in dramatic fashion, the assumption would have been that Club America who have started the Apertura 2013 tournament not firing on all cylinders. Well, four games into the campaign, Club America have shown no letdown as Saturday’s 1-0 win over Pachuca demonstrates. The win gives America 10 points through four games played.
The reason that America has looked as good as they have so far and have shown no signs of a post-championship hangover begins with their fiery, yet excellent, coach Miguel Herrera. Herrera has coached and helped assemble a formidable team that is capable and has played up to the history and expectations of what is expected from one of Mexico’s giants. After winning the Clausura 2013 Championship, Herrera stated that he wanted to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson by not being satisfied by just winning one championship but he wanted to win many, many more.
Because Herrera has set a tone of not settling for the success of last season, America so far has picked up where they left off last season. While the team lost Diego Reyes to Porto and the now deceased Christian Benitez was sold to Qatari club El Jaish, the team has been able to not feel their losses on the field. The performances of several players in the win against Pachuca highlight why Herrera has done a great job of coaching this team and why America has not suffered a post-championship hangover.
The first player is Raul Jimenez. Jimenez came through Club America’s youth teams and slowly began to establish himself after making his debut first-team appearance back in October 2011. When the team signed Ecuadorean forward Narciso Mina back six months ago to in theory play alongside Benitez, Jimenez through his play ensured that Mina was relegated to being a benchwarmer in league games.
Now that Benitez is no longer leading the forward line, Jimenez has stepped up and taken it upon himself to lead the forward line and has scored three goals so far in the Apertura 2013 including the game winner against Pachuca. The development and steady improvement of the young Mexican forward mirrors that of the team and the philosophy of Herrera that those who are in form will get a chance to play and start. Another player that has come in and ensured that the post-championship hangover would not slow America down this tournament is Luis Angel Mendoza.
Mendoza was signed from club San Luis and his signing was one that left many wondering why the team were signing a 23-year-old midfielder who at best was going to be a squad player. Well, Mendoza has so far been more of a squad player; he has already established himself as a regular starter, displacing Osvaldo Martinez. His play on the left side of the midfield has helped America to be able to sustain attacking force during games and at the same time helped the team become less predictable offensively.
While there is still a long way to go before crowning a champion in this Apertura tournament, Club America have not done anything to make those who pick them to repeat as champions doubt that prediction. On the contrary, the team appears to be better than they were last term and if this continues, expect them to add another title to the club illustrious history.