Club America endure rough night at the hands of Ricardo Ferretti's Tigres
Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti recorded his 400th win as coach as Tigres handed a heavy 4-1 defeat to Club America, who will now have to start preparing its match against the Seattle Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League play.
Pablo Aguilar and William da Silva were both red-carded, while captain Rubens Sambueza left the match with an apparent shoulder injury.
It was a difficult night for Las Aguilas, whose only bright spot was debutant Jesus Moreno's performance. Here are three takeaways after America's 4-1 loss at El Volcan:
1. America's tactical order diminished after Aguilar's red
For the second-leg of the quarterfinal series against Leon in the 2015 Apertura, coach Ignacio Ambriz decided to put on the pitch three defensive midfielders -- Daniel "Chepe" Guerrero, Javier Guemez and Osvaldo Martinez. On Saturday night against Tigres, he repeated the recipe, but this time around it was William da Silva playing instead of Guerrero. The tactical decision to put three defensive midfielders allowed Las Aguilas to control the first 70 minutes at Estadio Universitario.
William, Martinez and Guerrero were able to suffocate the host's midfield. And even though wingers, Javier Aquino and Jurgen Damm, were active in the first 45 minutes, their plays didn't finish in many scoring opportunities. Tigres' minimal scoring chances were due to individual plays.
America held a 1-0 lead for two minutes, thanks to Moreno's 69th minute strike, but then a goal from Tigres' Damian Alvarez levelled things up. At that stage, the possibilities of taking a point back to Mexico City were high for Las Aguilas, but once Aguilar picked up a second-yellow card and headed to the locker rooms, America derailed.
Aguilar's handball inside the box allowed Tigres to take over the game, while Ambriz's tactical plan faded away. The fact that in most of its games America is not finishing with 11 players on the pitch is becoming a serious issue because it's preventing the team from getting positive results.
In the last three games, America have only won two points out of nine. In that same stretch of games, it has seen four of its players get red-carded. With those numbers, the possibilities of going on to win another Liga MX title appear like a long-shot.
Ambriz's tactical intentions were good on Saturday night, but everybody will talk about the 4-1 defeat, and the red cards.
2. Moreno takes advantage of his opportunity
In the midst of the uncertainty and the second 4-1 loss of the season, Moreno was able to score in the only Clausura game he has been able to get minutes. His goal momentarily gave Los Azulcremas the lead at El Volcan and provoked a beaming smile from Ambriz.
The glee didn't last long, however Moreno's game against Tigres should be seen as a positive considering that Darwin Quintero, Michael "Miky" Arroyo and Dario "Pipa" Benedetto have yet to score a goal in the current season.
At 25-years-old and after not playing top-flight football since 2012, Moreno did everything right. Considering that he was the only striker in America's XI, he managed to create opportunities and almost scored the opener in the early part of the first half.
His goal showcased a lot of determination because it came after a well-elaborated play, which finished with him in front of goal and no markers around. He had to score, and he did.
On Saturday night, Moreno won the right to see more minutes in the Clausura.
3. Tigres needed a win like Saturday night's
There was a sense of relief coming from Ferretti's coaching staff after the 4-1 win.
After two games without a win, Los Felinos needed a win like Saturday night's to regain some much-needed confidence. In the next week it will play against Real Salt Lake and Monterrey, so the stakes will be high. Luckily, Tigres will head into those games full of confidence, with players like Andre-Pierre Gignac and Rafael Sobis playing great football
Tigres is a team with a deep squad, and on Saturday night it showed. When Damm and Aquino were subbed off, and Lucas Zelarayan and Alvarez took their place. Both came into the game and provided needed flare to the team.
It's worth pointing out that Tigres will arrive to the Clasico Regio next week after a 4-1 win over America, while Monterrey will arrive after a 4-0 loss to Cruz Azul.
Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.