High-flying Aguilas snatch their prey, make quick work of Chivas

Defending Liga MX champs will take 3-0 lead into Champions Cup return match against Guadalajara

Henry Martín and his América teammates pose after Martín scored the Aguilas' third goal against Guadalajara in their Concacaf Champions Cup match Wednesday night.
Henry Martín and his América teammates pose after Martín scored the Aguilas' third goal against Guadalajara in their Concacaf Champions Cup match Wednesday night. / Simon Barber/GettyImages

This staying in Guadalajara thing seems to be working out for América.

Four days after hammering Atlas in Estadio Jalisco, the Aguilas roasted the Chivas 3-0 in Estadio Akron, taking a commanding lead in their Concacaf Champions Cup series.

The return leg of this Round of 16 series will be played in Mexico City next Wednesday, but “los Azulcremas” will be back in “La Perla Tapatía” in 10 days to face Guadalajara in a Liga MX match, a third "Super Clásico" in 11 days.

No doubt, the defending Liga MX champs are getting a taste for birria after setting up camp in the Jalisco state capital ahead of last Saturday’s game against Atlas. 

Early penalty sets the tone

The Estadio Akron crowd was in full throat as the first chapter of this month's Super Clásico trilogy got underway and Chivas Nation was lustily booing former Guadalajara player Christian Calderón every time he touched the ball.

América started on its front foot – testing Chivas keeper Oscar Whalley twice early on – and was rewarded in minute 13 when defender Alan Torres recklessly stuck out his foot in the penalty area, tripping Julián Quiñones as he approached a loose rebound.

Quiñones himself converted the spot kick as the commentators questioned the wisdom of inserting Torres in a 5-man back line, the first time rookie coach Fernando Gago had used that tactical shape this season.

Torres, usually employed as a defensive midfielder, soon thereafter scuffed a clearance and the Aguilas nearly snatched another goal, but the criticism appeared to be warranted. And it would resurface in the second half.

The Liga MX champs dominated possession the first half hour (70%) and Guadalajara seemed out of sorts, their midfield vulnerable and their offense ineffective in the unfamiliar 5-3-2 alignment.

The Chivas resisted the waves of attacking Aguilas and nearly claimed the equalizer just before halftime only to be denied by a fine Luis Malagón save.

As the second half started, the TV pundits wondered why Gago had not made a change to strengthen his attack. Fifteen minutes in, the critics had additional fuel.

Torres challenged Quiñones near midfield, trying to clear a bouncing ball, but he arrived late, his head crashing into Quiñones' chin. Ref Saíd Martínez didn't hesitate, showing Torres a second yellow card and sending him to the showers.

Down a man, Guadalajara simply tried to hold down the fort, hoping to limit the damage and maintain hope ahead of next week's return match. But América is simply too good when given extra space.

In minute 70, the Aguilas demonstrated how to strike off the counter, needing just nine touches to go from their own touch line into the Chivas box where Diego Valdés ran onto a picture-perfect Alex Zendejas service and deposited it in the back of the net.

Captain Henry Martín put in the final dagger in stoppage time, heading home a rebound of a long Santiago Naveda shot that had clanged off the right post right to where the unmarked striker.

Monterrey is final Liga MX club to open Round of 16 series

The first-place Rayados are in Ohio to face FC Cincinnati in their Concacaf Champions Cup series.

Unbeaten Monterrey – atop the Liga MX standings with 22 points from 10 games – will be favored against The Orange and Blue who are also unbeaten in MLS but have played only two matches.

The Round of 16 clash will be a homecoming for Rayados forward Brandon Vazquez who is the all-time scoring leader for the six-year-old MLS franchise.


The return leg will be played on Thursday, March 14, in Monterrey's Estadio BBVA Bancomer.