Club America, so perfect it's scary
So strong, so formal, so sure, so exact, so perfect ... that it could only exist in our imagination.
América behaves like a "Prince Charming." It does what it takes to win. It fills its gaps with ease and leaves spectacle for the "Cirque du Soleil..." It's hard not to idealize this club. It's hard not to believe in it, when at this early stage, with many sunny summer days still to come, the team is not running up against any anxieties or setbacks. Who are you, América? What do you have, what do you not have, what do you seek and what do you hide?
América didn't need to muster much on Saturday at the San Nicolás de los Garza University Stadium. Raúl Jiménez hardly back-heeled the ball before he and his mind went elsewhere, toward Atlético of Madrid. Rubens Sambueza's absence was not too noticeable in a midfield overrun with players that hustle and play aggressively.
The defense adjusted to compensate for its shortcomings. And when its opponent, Tigres, became fiercer, América stopped it short with a lethal counterattack. Las Aguilas proved itself at a stadium that has historically been difficult for visiting teams and that it's something of a harbinger following a promising start to the championship. Nothing went amiss. América took away three points and something more important: the idea that it is a much more powerful team than its opponent.
América can start off with a lineup of five attackers and change to four. It can play on the wings like Miguel Herrera's "old" América did or make plays through the center with a bold and definitive player like Oribe Peralta. It can begin putting pressure on its opponent and then relax to finish them off with the counterattack.
We're left with the impression that this América, when it's all said and done, plays according to the style and vision of its coach. That a tournament and a few months are enough to get rid of certain features of its recent past. That now coach Antonio Mohamed seems comfortable and satisfied with his team, and that all that is missing, as a final touch and at the same time a complex issue, is the fans' acceptance that this is the team they want.
América is undefeated, is the overall leader and works like a Swiss watch on the field. Mohamed is on cloud nine. América is becoming a perfect team, so perfect, so cold, so unphased and so dumbfounding that it is frightening.
David Faitelson is based in Los Angeles and co-hosts "Nacion ESPN," ESPN Deportes' version of "SportsNation." Follow him on Twitter @Faitelson_ESPN.