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Mar 23, 2014

America still failing to impress

Everybody has guilty pleasures.

Some still listen to The Cardigan's "Lovefool" on repeat while others really enjoy movies like Titanic or Gone with the Wind. That previous sentence may or may not pertain to me, but what I want to focus on is a guilty pleasure of mine involving soccer. To be more specific, I have recently been supporting a team I never expected to: Club America.

I hope my father, a die-hard Chivas Guadalajara fan, never reads this article, but I have been secretly hoping for America to do well the past few months. Don't expect me to buy one of those horrific half America/half El Tri jerseys anytime soon, but do expect me to give a silent celebration whenever the team does well. Why? Well, because of Miguel Herrera, that's why.

As long as Herrera is the captain of the S.S. El Tri, I'm going to have to support America whether I like it or not. It's no secret that he has favored the America players for the national team and has utilized most of them as the base of the squad. Even without Miguel Layun, America still had six of its players called-up in the match against Nigeria earlier this month. While it can be argued that certain players like goalkeeper Moises Munoz, defenders Juan Carlos Valenzuela or Francisco Rodriguez aren't going to be starting players for El Tri, they are still more than likely going to be on that plane to Brazil and be options for Herrera during the summer.

It's a very simple way of looking at it, but my assumption is that if America do well, it will benefit the national team. If America don't do well, it might negatively influence the national team. There are of course many more variables coming into play and a bad season would of course not keep Mexico from excelling at the World Cup. However, I can’t help but feel that thriving in the Clausura wouldn't be unfavorable.

Which is why America's match against Veracruz was painful to watch. For lack of a better word, the game was just boring. Perhaps it was the pressure of critics expecting a win at the very least, but America looked static and at times even unmotivated to play the match. It was almost as if the players were counting on a goal to happen upon itself.

What was even more embarrassing is that one of the better opportunities in the match was an own-goal that almost happened for Munoz after he poorly trapped a back-pass from Valenzuela in the first half. America easily controlled possession afterwards but were unable to follow through with most of their plays in the final third of the pitch. It also didn't help that las aguilas seemed to have one touch too many when they were close to Veracruz's eighteen-yard box.

In the second half, America head coach Antonio Mohamed opted for a more attacking 4-4-2 for his side, but still had little to celebrate from it. America increased their pressure on the attack but center-back Leiton Jimenez and the rest of the Veracruz back line were able to easily deal with anything the America attack threw at them.

After the final whistle blew, America found themselves with another disappointing tie and their third game in a row without a win. In fact, they have only had one win in their last seven matches and haven't seen a victory in their last four games at the Estadio Azteca. As an El Tri fan, this of course brought flashbacks from Mexico home games last year.

America still have the potential to bring themselves out of this drought and all eyes are on Mohamed to solve their problems and give them some much-need ambition. A crucial win against Chivas next week would be a huge self-esteem boost, but they still have to play Cruz Azul the week after and then Toluca in the final game of the season.

I'm not sure if I'll ever be an America fan, but I currently wouldn't be opposed to them winning.