But it was not to be. Midfielder Diego Valdés, the club’s top playmaker, went down with a serious injury while playing for Chile in a Conmebol World Cup qualifier and, just like that, the Aguilas were bitten by the dreaded FIFA flu.
Valdés – América’s leading scorer with 6 goals – is coming home with a torn hamstring that will sideline him for up to two months.
If the 29-year-old Chilean manages to rehab successfully, he might be available to return in time for the Liga MX semifinals. That is an optimistic view, however, and the Aguilas might be forced to chase their 14th league title without their star midfielder.
Elsewhere in Liga MX, Chivas saga takes another turn
After two weeks in limbo, Guadalajara miscreants Alexis Vega, Cristián Calderón and Raúl Martínez have been allowed to return to training after being suspended for violating team rules.
The decision by the self-styled “Most Popular Team in Liga MX” has prompted considerable criticism as well as speculation about what kind of fall-out there might be with “El Rebaño Sagrado.”
Veterans Vega and Calderón (repeat offenders, it must be said) and rising teen star Martínez were threatened with dismissal after being caught with women and alcohol at the team hotel on Oct. 1.
Instead, the trio was separated from the club while management decided what type of punishment to levy. Liga MX bylaws prohibit an outright release (and the Chivas would still be on the hook for their wages), but there were discussions of trades and buy-outs.
Then on Wednesday, the threesome reappeared at the Verde Valle training grounds after Vega and Calderón issued apologies on social media that lacked any hint of genuine repentance.
ESPN personality Álvaro Morales ripped Chivas ownership for the move, declaring that the team’s former co-owner would have never wavered.
“The club lacks real leadership, they lack backbone, they are weak-willed. Angélica Fuentes would have stuck to her principles and made a bold decision.”
Legendary Guadalajara striker Ricardo “Snoopy” Pérez also decried the leniency. “The Chivas ought to provide an explanation for why they backed down. These guys were not contributing to the team and their return could cause issues in the locker room,” he said.
Layún announces retirement
América’s Miguel Layún revealed to reporters that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of this season.
The fullback/midfielder made his Liga MX debut back in March 2007 with Veracruz and has played for multiple teams in Europe, winning a Primeira Liga title with FC Porto.
Layún, 35, first joined América in 2010 and won two Liga MX titles with the Aguilas, while also winning a Liga MX championship with Monterrey in 2019 as well as two Concacaf Champions League trophies with the Rayados.
The versatile Layún earned 72 caps with El Tri and featured in Mexico’s Gold Cup-winning side in 2015.
This season, the Veracruz native has seen limited action with América, appearing in only five Liga MX games and three Leagues Cup matches. Layún has 42 goals and 58 assists in 514 games.