Club América are one of three Liga MX clubs based in Mexico City, the nation's capital, and its most decorated one. Only Chivas are more popular, or as decorated as the Azulcremas. America are looking to further get out of the shadow of Miguel 'Piojo' Herrera who brought them their last title in the 2013 Clausura. After a 2013-14 which saw them fail at capturing the back-to-back championship in the 2013 Apertura and fall to Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals of the Clausura 2014 Liguilla, manager Antonio 'Turco' Mohamed will need to not only continue to put his stamp on the Aguilas, while catering to the fan base's expectations of eclipsing archrivals Chivas for the most Liga MX trophies in league history.
Full Name: Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V
Nicknames: Las Aguilas (The Eagles), Los Azulcremas, Los Millionetas
Stadium: Estadio Azteca (Capacity: 105,000)
Owner: Grupo Televisa
Manager: Antonio Mohamed
Liga MX Champions: 11 (1965-66, 1970-71, 1975-76, 1984-85, Prode 1985, 1987-88, 1988-89, Verano 2002, Clausura 2005, Clausura 2013)
Copa MX Champions: 5 (1953=54, 1954-55, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1973-74)
Campeón de Campeones: 5 (1955, 1976, 1988, 1989, 2005)
InterLiga: 1 (2008)
CONCACAF Champions League: 5 (1977, 1987, 1990, 1992, 2006)
Apertura 2013: 1st, Liguilla runners-up
Clausura 2014: 5th, Liguilla quarterfinals
CONCACAF Champions League: Group stage (2nd place in Group 4)
Apertura 2013 Copa MX: N/A (participated in CONCACAF Champions League)
Clausura 2014 Copa MX: N/A (participated in CONCACAF Champions League)
After their run to the Clausura 2013 championship. America looked to build toward a Bi-Campeonato (winning two consecutive titles). America started off their Apertura 2013 campaign losing only once in their first seven matches, and did not lose after August in Liga MX play. However, as the season progressed and Mexico's World Cup qualifying campaign started to fall apart, rumors started to swirl that Mexico was going to poach manager Miguel 'Piojo' Herrera to salvage Mexico's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Although the Aguilas easily clinched the top seed in that season's Liguilla, it was clear that their manager and the Mexico World Cup qualification campaign was on the minds of most in the America camp. It reduced the urgency for the club to take their CONCACAF Champions League campaign seriously, as they finished second in a group that featured Costa Rican side Alajuelense and Panamanian club Sporting San Miguelito. The same worries over how much would the Aguilas risk in the Liguilla, with Piojo Herrera linked to the Mexico job did not seem to faze them in Liguilla play. After needing to utilizing the "higher seed rule" to get past eighth-seeded Tigres in the opening round, America came back from a 1-2 opening round deficit to defeat Toluca 2-0 in the return leg, and 3-2 on aggregate, on the backs of goals by center back Aquivaldo Mosquera and midfielder Jesus Molina. Once the Aguilas got to the final, they were frustrated by a well-drilled and clinical Leon side, losing the final by a combined score of 5-1. It was Mauro Boselli and Carlos 'Gullit' Peña who bagged the goals in the opening leg at the Camp Nou, and it was Edwin Hernandez, Boselli, and Ignacio Gonzalez who bagged the goals in the return leg. America's only goal in the tie was a fortunate own goal by Ignacio Gonzalez.
Once the 2013 Apertura ended, the America tabbed former Club Tijuana boss Turco Mohamed to replace the now-departed Miguel Herrera, and made minimal changes to the side--only bringing in Paraguayan center back Pablo Aguilar from his former Tijuana Xolos as the major signing. The Aguilas had a very up and down Clausura, but so did most teams in Liga MX. They needed to wait until the final weekend of the season to clinch their berth into the season's Liguilla--albeit in fifth place. America, who had trouble finding goals throughout the Clausura, went up against the free-scoring Guerreros of Santos Laguna. In the opening leg at the Estadio Azteca, America put five goals past Oswaldo Sanchez, defeating them 5-3. But they would lose the return leg 3-1 at the Estadio Corona, and the three goals they conceded at home in the opening leg ended up sending the Santos through to the semifinals on the Away-Goal rule.
Antonio 'Turco' Mohamed took over Club America for Miguel 'Piojo' Herrera at the start of the 2014 Clausura, and retained much of the intensity that the current Mexico boss displayed while at the club.
He had come into the America job already winning a Liga MX crown with Club Tijuana (Apertura 2012), whom had only won promotion to Liga MX a season earlier. He brought the Xolos up from the Ascenso and had a club that believed in him (without a history otherwise to question him) , with a cast of players including USA playmaker Joe Corona, Mexico midfielder Fernando Arce, Aguilar, Javier Gandolfi, and Fidel Martinez.
The manager barely tinkered with the base setup of a 5-3-2 in Club America, despite his preference for a line of four in the back in his first short tournament with the club. He had his share of flare-ups and share of good results for the Aguilas, as they navigated the Clausura 2014. But he is very much a player's coach, but one who believes in a team that is unified.
With a summer transfer window in tow, 'Turco' Mohamed managed to upgrade his side,, including his defense and forward corps.
MAJOR TRANSFERS IN:
Paolo Goltz (DF, Lanus, 29 years old)
Oribe Peralta (ST, Santos Laguna, 30)
Ventura Alvarado (DF, loan return from Necaxa, 21)
Gonzalo DIaz (MF, loan from Godoy Cruz, 24)
Jose Daniel Guerrero (DF, from Atlante, 26)
Paolo Goltz and Oribe Peralta headline the class of players coming into Club America. The Azulcremas are reportedly close to adding Atlante midfielder Michael Arroyo to the list of new recruits coming into the team. Ventura Alvarado's return from loan as well as Goltz could be useful in reinforcing America's defensive corps that was a sore point in the 2014 Clausura. However, the Aguilas could still be dealing with a few major losses that have yet to happen.
MAJOR TRANSFERS OUT:
Francisco Javier Rodriguez (DF, Cruz Azul, 32)
Aquivaldo Mosquera (DF, Pachuca, 33)
Juan Carlos Medina (MF, Atlas, 30)
Andres Rios (MF, loan to Leones Negros UDG, 24)
Adrian Aldrete (DF, Santos Laguna, 26)
Andres Andrade (MF, loan to Chiapas, 25)
While Maza Rodriguez, Aquivaldo Mosquera, and Juan Carlos 'Negrito' Medina are the headline names to leave the squad, the true headlines are those who could leave for Europe. Several European teams have expressed interest in wing-back Miguel Layun and striker Raul Jimenez. The interest is much stronger in Layun, who played in Serie A briefly with Atalanta, and holds a European Union passport. However, it is Fiorentina, as well as Porto (who already feature Mexicans Diego Reyes and Hector Herrera on the squad) who have shown interest in Layun. Raul Jimenez has also garnered interest from FC Porto and Bundesliga's Wolfsburg. If both players, and even Paul Aguilar, who has been recommended for a move to FC Barcelona, leave, 'Turco' Mohamed would have to scramble quickly to replace some of his side's most important players.
Given their history and recent form, supporters of Club America will expect their team to continue to compete for titles and break the tie with archrivals Chivas for the most Liga MX titles in the professional era. The side is still fairly good, but will likely feature plenty of new faces in the midfield. Luis Angel 'Quick' Mendoza and Jesus Molina could play a big role in 2014, as well as new holding midfielder Gonzalo Diaz.
With Rodriguez and Mosquera gone, the America central defense got slightly younger with Goltz coming into the side. Pablo Aguilar should also feature more prominently. All players will need to show that they are good enough to take the next step from being "above average" to one of the best in Liga MX.
The Aguilas will be competing in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, in addition to their Liga MX fixtures. They will add those games, while subtracting the myriad Copa MX matches this Apertura for the second straight year.
'El Turco' has never managed a team in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) although he has previously led Xolos to the quarterfinal of the 2013 Copa Libertadores, a competition which required much more travel and was on a more difficult playing field than the CCL will be.
But much of how the Aguilas fare this season could depend on what happens with Layun, Paul Aguilar, and Raul Jimenez. If either move, given the Liga MX transfer window has already closed, Turco Mohamed could be scrambling.
OPENING SIX MATCHES:
19 July - vs Leon (a)
26 July - vs Tijuana (h)
2 August - vs Puebla (a)
9 August - vs Tigres UANL (a)
16 August - vs Morelia (h)
23 August - vs Chiapas (a)