The man wearing the tailored suit with the Club America crest on the chest pocket might have changed since the last time America played a game, but what did not change on Saturday afternoon was the result which America has gotten used to producing at home in league games. In beating Tigres UANL 3-0 to open the Liga MX Clausura 2014 season, America could not have asked for a better way to begin the Antonio Mohamed era at the club.
The game was without a doubt the most intriguing and anticipated of the opening week, given the quality of each squad as well the fact that both are expected to be title contenders. While there was some question if Mohamed would make any tweaks to make the team his “own”, he opted to stick with what has been successful, the 3-5-2 formation with two wing backs and the same starting eleven that played most of last season. The only modification was the inclusion of Adrian Aldrete as one of the three center backs in place of the suspended Francisco Rodriguez.
If the formation and starting eleven remained the same for America here to start a new season with a new coach, so did the fact that they jumped on their opponent at home early in the game; Luis Gabriel Rey scored the opener 10 minutes in from a well taken shot 25 yards out. The early goal allowed America to settle into the game while it also obligated Tigres to break out of its shell and go looking for the game in attack.
Tigres will feel hard done by a string of decisions from referee Ricardo Arellano, who caused Tigres to miss out on two penalty kicks. The goal scored by Paul Aguilar to put America ahead 2-0, was a result of Rey having been in an offside position before setting him up with the assist. That said, Tigres failed to generate any clear scoring chances or sustained threats to the America goal and Raul Jimenez would seal a win for America three minutes into the second half with his goal to make it 3-0.
While we may see a different America sometime later on in terms of formation preference and tactical philosophy at least for now, Mohamed has shown to be smart and flexible in having America play as they have the previous two seasons under Miguel Herrera. Recognizing that he has walked into a winning situation, even one with much pressure attached to it, Mohamed has at least started his reign with America by sticking with what has been working.