Mexican Primera Breakdown: América's Gates of Hell

Club América have high hopes of recovering from last year's debacle, but is a turnaround really in the cards?

Club Deportivo América always begins the Mexican League as a heavy favorite. In recent years the talk has been much more hype then substance, but this year has the makings of something different.

For starters, coach Ramon “El Pelado” Diaz had a full preseason training camp with América, rare for the Mexico City club. The Argentine arrived in early summer with staff in tow and began to work within the club immediately upon settling at Azteca.

He began by cleaning the clubhouse. Gone are Mexican defender Diego Cervantes, Paraguayan striker Rodrigo Lopez, winger Federico Higuain, and constant underperforming and overpaid midfielder Richard Nunez. In their place Mexicans Juan Carlos Medina and Rafael Marquez Lugo arrived in Cuapa. Argentine midfielder Federico Insua returned from the prolonged injury. But most importantly, Alfredo Moreno arrived from América’s little brother, San Luis.

Moreno’s arrival is perhaps the single most important signing of the summer transfer window. The former San Luis triggerman was a major threat for the Gladiators since his arrival in 2007, when he earned the pichichi award in Mexico. Those showings had rumors flying that he was headed to Europe. Instead Televisa, owners of both América and San Luis, brought him to the capital.

While América’s fans are celebrating Moreno’s arrival, club captain Salvador Cabanas appears even more joyous. Cabanas was the sole shining spot in last season’s disaster. The Paraguayan single-handedly saved América from complete disgrace by leading the team to a semifinals appearance in Copa Libertadores. The Cabanas-Moreno partnership could wind up being the most lethal pair in the Primera.

Moreno will draw a lot of attention from opposing defenders, obviously, and this could lead to Cabanas having an even better season. Cabanas will no longer face double-team efforts from every opponent. In the end, both strikers should challenge for the pichichi this season, and América should have an outstanding season. Then again, this is said every year.

Game of the Week
Atlas and Cruz Azul battled in amazing 4-2 game on Saturday night. Atlas began strongly and dominated the first 25 minutes of the match, putting one away in the 12th through Ariel Bogado.

Cruz Azul then battled back, Edgar Andrade leveling the score in the 34th minute. The game went back and forth until the 77th minute when Dario Bottinelli swan-dived his way to a second yellow for simulation in the box. This was the turning point. Goals by Christian Riveros and Nicolas Vigneri sealed the game for Atlas following the ejection.

Play of the Week
We might have seen the goal of the season in week two. Atlas’s Mauricio Romero Alvizu put Atlas up 2-1 with an amazing bicycle kick that flashed into the upper corner. Usually a bicycle kick is performed after a set up chest or knee trap but Alvizu did not even try to settle the ball. He struck it with a first intention for a truly beautiful goal.

Tres Puntos

1. Mexican National Team coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has announced his first National Team call up of his tenure. The call up consists solely of Mexican based players and no friendly match has been scheduled to test the team. The list does contain a few surprises including the return of Adolfo “El Bofo” Bautista and disgraced Mexican Olympic team striker Luis Angel Ladin.

However, the greatest surprise is the call up of nationalized players Leandro Augusto of Pumas de la UNAM and, after an injury to another player, Matias Vuoso of Santos. I have strong reservations about Leandro, as his time seems to have passed after his dual championship period under Hugo Sanchez. But Vuoso should be a revelation.

The former Argentinean has been outstanding at Santos, helping the team win last year’s championship. It should be fun watching Vuoso on the National Team, perhaps he will bless us with his original goal celebration…the Vuoso Polar!

Just don’t ask him to take anymore penalty kicks. He missed one this weekend against Pumas. You truly cannot blame him, of course: History has shown that Mexican players never score penalty kicks.

2. England is proving very friendly to Mexicans Carlos Vela and Giovanni Dos Santos. Although Vela comes to England’s Arsenal squad after a well thought-out and balanced development plan, Gio arrives after a forgetful period with Barcelona. Both players are playing and both are showing themselves well with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively, in preseason matches. Hopefully both will reach match form soon, as Eriksson could need a youthful influx for El Tri in the near future.

3. What happened to Guillermo Ochoa’s big summer move to Europe? It appears that Europe just was not interested in the Mexican goalkeeper, with the only concrete offer appears to be a loan request by Turkish side Galasataray. Obviously a loan move is not an option for one of the most prized assets in Mexico. It appears América’s horrible season has dented the young goaltender’s dreams for now. However, a good season and some National Team showings should put the Ochoa back on the market.

Mexican Primera Breakdown: América's Gates of Hell Reviewed by admin Ucop on 5:08 AM Rating: 5

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