America’s Águilas Fly Back to Japan…
by Luis Eduardo Flores
The winner of the match and still the reigning champions of CONCACAF; Las Águilas de la America! Not only did America make it back to the final after eliminating four other teams; they also managed to retain their championship.
America cruised through the group stage (Group E) up to when they faced the Seattle Sounders in the first match of the quarterfinals. The first match was relatively even and entertaining (2-2). In their 2nd match; America outclassed the Sounders and easily beat them (3-1). Against Santos Laguna, America barely got the win in the 2nd match. A late goal by Michael Arroyo got America into the final. Those two opponents were minor speed bumps on America’s road to the final; against Tigres UANL.
Ricardo Ferretti’s Tigres did not stand a chance against Ignacio Ambríz’s America. On aggregate, America pounded the Tigres with a 4-1 score.
Now that America has a first class ticket back to Japan, what can we expect? In their previous Club World Cup; they pulled off a less-than-stellar performance and they were eliminated by China’s Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to determine how America will fair in the Club World Cup.
• What respective teams will win the AFC and CAF Champions League?
o One of the winning teams will automatically face America in the quarter-finals. If America faces a CAF team; there is no doubt that America can advance to the next round. It is the winners of CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores and UEFA’s Champions League that will be the real obstacle. Imagine if the opponent that will await America is Atlético Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, or Real Madrid?
• Will the national teams call up their players?
o Players like Oribe Peralta, Paul Aguilar (Mexico), and Darwin Quintero (Colombia) are frequent starters for their teams. If their teams need them (especially for the World Cup qualifiers); there is a good chance that they will not be available for the Club World Cup.
• How will America do in the Clausura 2016?
o If they remain consistent between the Clausura and the Club World Cup; they will be credible contenders for the title.
o Of course; the health of each player is an obvious factor that doesn’t need explaining.