Dario Benedetto's scoring drought should worry Club America
Club America drew 1-1 against Veracruz at the Estadio Luis "Pirata" Fuente. The draw against Los Tiburones Rojos is America's second of the 2016 Clausura. After the match, manager Ignacio "Nacho" Ambriz lamented the fact that his team couldn't continue its winning streak.
Veracruz played the final 25 minutes down a man after midfielder Gabriel Penalba was sent off. Here are five conclusions from Friday's draw:
1. Sambueza's stellar numbers
Last season, Rubens Sambueza finished with seven yellow cards and three reds. In the 2015 Apertura, there were more instances when he was more of a negative influence in the team than a positive one. In the Clausura, it's been the opposite. It's Sambueza's three goals and an assist that have allowed the team to earn 11 out of 18 possible points.
On Friday, Sambueza opened the scoreline in Estadio Luis Pirata "Fuente" with a supreme goal, where he brought the ball down with his left foot and evaded two defenders before sending a hard left-footed shot to the corner of Meliton Hernandez's goal. Sambueza is one of America's key cogs, and this season he's producing numbers to back it up.
2. Veracruz's best performance of the season
Veracruz still hasn't won in the Clausura, yet its performance against America should serve as proof that the team still has potential to make a third consecutive Liguilla appearance. However, if players like Penalba keep making mistakes that cost the team, as happened against America, Veracruz's season will prove to be a long one. Veracruz will need to start getting wins beginning next week against Monterrey, who will likely enter Week 7 as the Clausura's leader.
3. Las Aguilas missed William da Silva's versatility
Even though Da Silva has only started twice for Los Azulcremas, it was evident how much he provided to the team. His ability to cover ground and equally be efficient in the attack and defense helped America get two consecutive wins. Da Silva didn't make the trip to Veracruz because of a muscular injury, but he should be ready to go in the next few games. Jose Daniel "Chepe" Guerrero deputised well in midfield, but he didn't provide Da Silva's versatility, and America missed it.
4. Benedetto's drought is worrying
Dario Benedetto hasn't scored a goal in the Clausura. In Veracruz, he had a series of misses that you'd expect him to finish. At times, it looks like Oribe Peralta has received total support from Ambriz and the coaching staff, while Benedetto, who has been the most consistent striker in the Ambriz era, hasn't.
On Friday, America missed a great chance to pick up three points away from home, and perhaps the reason it didn't was because Benedetto is going through a scoring drought.
5. Andrade scored a marvellous free-kick goal
Edgar Andrade's goal produced a huge smile on Carlos Reinoso's face. Thereafter, Los Tiburones Rojos controlled the game.
After Penalba's expulsion, though, Reinoso's smile disappeared. At the end, Veracruz salvaged a point but created enought that it could have taken three points from the game. Andrade's goal alone was worth all three.
Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.