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Club América needs to cool it with the friendlies

Playing games against the world's best teams in the middle of the Liga MX season is a recipe for disaster for Club América

Club América is the biggest club in North America, and as a fan of the team, that comes with pros and cons. When you’re on top, everyone wants a piece of you, including the biggest European clubs. While some Liga MX teams are also playing friendlies in the United States, the month of July has looked like a UEFA Champions League schedule for América. 

Seriously, look at these opponents: Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, LAFC (okay, maybe not that last one). This is a murderer’s row of a schedule for any team, much less a team struggling as much as América. European teams at least are on vacation during these pre-season friendlies, while Club América on the other hand is in the middle of the Liga MX season. 

Sandwiched in between these friendlies are real league games that matter for playoff positioning. Los Azulcremas had a stretch in which they played at Club Tijuana in a league match just three days after playing Manchester City in Houston. As a result, they lost their league match 2-0, one in which they were favored. 

I hope the payday was worth it, because it’s stuff like this that gives Liga MX a bad reputation. At this rate, América’s trek into the United States might jeopardize their entire season. 

Club América might not even make Liguilla at this point

“Vamos por la 14” (which means let’s go for our 14th league championship) is the team’s motto this season. At this point, though, the motto should be make “just make Liguilla.” América is currently in fifteenth place out of eighteen teams, just ahead of little brother Chivas and outside of a Liguilla position. 

While the organization may sell more tickets and make more money due to the friendlies, what good does that do if the team’s reputation tanks by sucking in league play? It is still early, and the team can turn it around like they did last season, but what if a player gets hurt during these friendlies? Memo Ochoa and Jack Grealish got into a shoving match during a friendly–who’s to say that couldn’t escalate in another game?

The United States tour for Club América isn’t ending after they play Real Madrid tonight. Just a week later, they play LAFC in the “Leagues Cup,” a fake tournament featuring Liga MX and MLS clubs. But why is it a Leagues Cup when none of these teams have won a trophy within the last year? Isn’t that the whole purpose of the CONCACAF Champions League?

They should play friendlies during their breaks

If América wants to participate in these friendlies, they should do it in the preseason or during an international break. The risk América takes on playing these games during the season amplifies with so many factors, such as fatigue, injuries, and the use of several different lineups. Winning the league should be essential, not a friendly in which you’ll have bragging rights if you beat the Real Madrid academy players.

Club América has different expectations than most Liga MX clubs, and simply making the Liguilla isn’t ok with the fanbase. They expect to finish within the first four of the league and to compete for trophies annually. But if they’re the only Liga MX team putting heavy resources towards fake games in the middle of the season, that makes the goal near impossible to achieve.