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Aug 29, 2014

Jimenez's exit has affected America's scoring

America's Oribe Peralta hasn't had much help in scoring since Raul Jimenez left the club.

Though it wasn't an actual loss, Club America's draw against Chiapas last week in league play could be viewed as a bit of a stutter, though not a complete misstep.

At least, not yet. For a club that had reeled off five straight wins, the inability to score against a team like Los Jaguares, which isn't even a huge rival, was frustrating.

Granted, Club America still has a sizable lead over all the other clubs at the top of the Liga MX standings. The organization has twelve points more than Pumas, the club the team will face on Saturday. Against their bitter city rivals, it would seem an ideal situation for the Aguilas to get their mojo and momentum back with another victory.

Yet, the squad could also be ripe for an upset. Raul Jimenez is gone, and the jostling over who will be the new young star striker has only begun.

The main problem for Club America, of course, is that there isn't a striker under 28 on their current roster.

That's not to say that Oribe Peralta, for example, can't get the job done. The thirty-year old striker scored against Guatemala's Comunicaciones in mid-week CONCACAF Champions Cup action.

- Hernandez: Five Liga MX matches to watch

However, no one else accompanied him in scoring, so when Comunicaciones managed a goal of their own, the result was another disappointing draw. That leaves the group uncomfortably close, when many Club America fans assumed their squad would dominate.

Striker Luis Gabriel Rey, 34, hasn't contributed much to the goals this season, and neither has 28-year-old Martin Zuniga. Though Club America tops the goal total this season thus far, Jimenez has been the main reason why. Now he's no longer around.

With new opportunities arriving for the current crop of strikers in the absence of Jimenez, one or the other may emerge alongside Peralta to provide more of a reliable scoring output. Or perhaps it's more likely that the rest of the squad will compensate with goals from midfielders and other players.

Another option would be for Club America to recall young strikers who are currently on loan. Antonio Lopez is at Zacatecas, while Andres Rios is at University of Guadalajara.

However, neither striker has developed into a viable and consistent threat yet.

It may do Club America some good to lose to Pumas and have to take stock of their need for strikers. The last team to carry an unbeaten record late into a season was Tigres in the 2013 Clausura. Though Tigres didn't close out the season undefeated, the distraction of coming close to that seemed to cost them in the playoffs. Club America won the title that year.

Since then, they've been a consistent top team, but lost out in the playoffs. Although they've roared into this season, two draws in a row have provided a reality check. A humbling loss could help the squad retool and toughen up for the playoff grind.

Andrea Canales

Andrea Canales has covered soccer for over a decade and has loved the beautiful game most of her life. She has watched games in Azteca, interviewed nine El Tri coaches and covered three World Cups. She lives in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @soccercanales.

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