It was almost six weeks ago on a temperate night in Mexico City at the Estadio Azteca when Club Leon was able to make a 2-0 first leg leg hold by beating Club America 3-1 in the return leg to claim the sixth first division title in club history as winners of the Apertura 2013 season. On Saturday afternoon, Leon return to the scene of their most recent triumph as they take on America in what is without a doubt the game of the week here in Week 3 action of the Liga MX Clausura 2014 season.
Leon come into the game having started the Clausura 2014 campaign without much trouble as they drew 2-2 in their opening fixture away to relegation threatened Atlante but followed it up with a 3-1 win at home last weekend to Atlas. Without a doubt what has most stood out two games into Leon’s season has been how attacking midfielder Carlos Peña has had a keen eye on goal so far this season as he currently is the league leader with four goals.
In addition to the exploits of one ‘Gullit’ Peña, Leon appear to have picked up where they left off in the Apertura season despite not having had any sort of preseason. It is clear that in their case continuity with regards to coaching in the form of one Gustavo Matosas and a squad which despite one or two losses has been unchanged is playing off of “muscle memory.” This has allowed them to be able to ease their way into the league season, accumulate four points so far in their first two games and build up in fitness with an eye towards the Copa Libertadores.
Club America comes into the game on Saturday with more questions than answers given how they played in a 1-0 loss to Xolos de Tijuana last Friday night. After a nice start in that game in the first 20-25 minutes, Xolos clearly took control. In the course of the game, questions were made about the tactical and formational changes made by America coach Antonio Mohamed. This performance has all of a sudden made people question if it is prudent for Mohamed to think about switching to a four man defense. Some of the substitutions made that were of a defensive nature also brought out the second-guessers.
A couple of things to keep an eye for with regards to America headed into the game on Saturday is to see if any of the two offseason signings in Pablo Aguilar and or Andres Rios will at the very least be on the bench for the game. The second thing to keep an eye out for is to see if Miguel Layun continues to be “held back” in Mohamed’s tactical preference with Layun playing more as a traditional fullback as opposed to a wing back like he did under Miguel Herrera.
Given where they are at this moment, a game between Club America and Leon was going to easily be the game of week in Liga MX play. Add to it that they both faced off in the most recent final, and the case for this being the game of the weekend is a slam dunk. Anyone with a rooting interest or just a passing interest will make sure to tune in and watch the game. It might not be the best game played, but it has all the promise of potentially being a game that lives up to its billing.