Club America's all-Mexican strikeforce the last of a dying breed in Liga MX
MEXICO CITY -- In the last few days in Liga MX, the piece of news that stole most of the headlines was the fact that four weekend games ended in scoreless draws -- Queretaro-Tigres, Cruz Azul-Leon, Monterrey-Tijuana and America-Pumas. The explanation for this unlikely event might be due to the fact that most clubs are still showing signs of preseason form, while several of them are still integrating new faces into their rosters.
Another detail that should be noted is that in the nine Liga MX matches that took place in Week 3 only eight Mexican strikers started: Omar Marrufo (Veracruz), Paolo Yrizar (Queretaro), Amaury Escoto (Lobos BUAP), Alan Pulido (Chivas), Ronaldo Cisneros (Chivas), Angel Sepulveda (Morelia), Oribe Peralta (Club America) and Henry Martin (Club America). But what sticks out the most when looking at this list of names, it's that Miguel "Piojo" Herrera's America is setting all of its scoring hopes on the shoulders of ttwo Mexican strikers.
There's nothing wrong with America's current situation. It's a risky one, though, especially when taking into account Tigres and Monterrey's attacking options, all of whom are foreigners, most of whom have xperience playing in Europe.
But if it wasn't for Chivas, who always plays with an all-Mexican starting XI, and now Herrera's America, only four Mexican strikers would have started this past weekend. And none of those four strikers -- Yrizar, Marrufo, Escoto and Sepulveda -- are approximating a future Mexico national team call-up. Sepulveda participated in last summer's Gold Cup but since then hasn't produced good enough numbers to suggest that Osorio might call him up again soon.
Time will tell if America will have no other option but to continue with Martin and Peralta as its two starting strikers. Throughout this winter transfer window, America's board of directors have been busy looking for possible striker options from Europe.
The most notable one has been PSV's Luuk de Jong, who combined certain traits that made him an interesting option. At only 27-years-old and with experience in the Eredivisie, Premier League and Bundesliga, De Jong would have been an attractive option to have up top for Las Aguilas. But PSV were straightforward and told America that there wouldn't be any type of negotiations for De Jong's transfer this winter. However, there might be a chance this upcoming summer to re-open the possibility once more and see if all parts agree for a hypothetical transfer.
On Monday, Herrera told ESPN AM that he hasn't closed the doors on the possibility of bringing a foreign striker to the club. "[The possibility] is still alive, but unfortunately this window is almost coming to an end. It's becoming very complicated.
"To be honest with you, we're beginning to think that it will be tough [to sign someone], but as long as the directors don't tell me that there's no longer possibilities, they should keep looking."
There's a chance that as the season progresses, Jeremy Menez, one of the most notorious foreign signings to come to Liga MX this Clausura, will become the team's main playmaker. Menez could be joining Peralta up top in a 4-4-2 formation, but what if Menez is more fitted to play as one of the outside attackers in the 4-4-2 formation?
Against Pumas last Sunday, Cecilio Dominguez and Renato Ibarra got the starts, and in the second half, Andres Ibarguen, another of the five additions the club made in the winter, got his first minutes playing as one of the outside attackers.
Darwin Quintero and Silvio Romero, the team's other attacking options, have seen their roles in the team decrease of late, with Romero nearing a possible transfer to Independiente. Meanwhile Quintero made headlines in Mexico for almost hitting ESPN MX reporter Marcelino Fernandez with the ball. On Wednesday morning, America sent out a press release stating that Quintero would receive an internal sanction for "his unfortunate action that doesn't reflect the institution's values."
With all that has taken place, America remain set on returning to the Liguilla semis and this time around hope to avoid getting blown blown out by Tigres. If they are to accomplish that goal, Herrera might have no choice but to lean on Peralta and Martin as his primary scoring duo.
When looking at this pair, there's reason to think that Martin is a young version of the 34-year-old Peralta. Both strikers are warriors, who do not only live inside the opponent's area but are willing to track back and help out their teammates with the defensive duties. Martin has two goals in his first three starts with America, while Peralta has one goal, but already missed a penalty.
Martin's great start to the new season has earned him a Mexico call-up for the San Antonio friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina next week. Would he have had the same luck if he had remained at Xolos this season and had started the same way as he has with Las Aguilas?
As Herrera likes to say, his second stint as America manager is still a work in progress, and if he's able to lead America to another league title, with Peralta and Martin as his starting strikers, it would not only become one of the biggest storylines of the Clausura, but of the entire year.
Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.