LOS ANGELES – At the start of 2021, it was one of the least sought-after and lowest-priced teams in Mexican soccer. That of “Millonetas” remained an anecdote. And yet, America is the absolute leader of the 2021 Apertura Tournament, and is the only one directly classified in the Liguilla.
America is the “poor” team that enriches Liga Mx. A patchwork-armed campus, like a homeless outfit. But, in the end, he reports to the ball of the Fiesta Grande, in a tailcoat. The hanger helps.
It is irrefutable, today the El Nido squad has more value than price in its Liga Mx habitat. At the start of 2021, its roster of players was in quotes, below Monterrey, Tigres, Cruz Azul, Chivas and León. Ten months later, I insist, the other five have a higher price, but America has more value.
The pages specialized in player salaries and soccer player value, as well as the media in Mexico with coverage close to Coapa, have little agreement on their figures. There is only unanimity around the 4 million dollars that Guillermo Ochoa receives per year.
The rest oscillate dramatically. Bruno Valdez and Roger Martínez appear between two and three million dollars per year. With Pedro Aquino and Emanuel Aguilera close to them, but the rest, charge well below those amounts.
The figures that can be investigated in portals such as Salary Sports, Sports Intelligence and Statista, fluctuate dramatically, and it is even more complicated when it is known that an amount is consigned in the contract registered with the Mexican Soccer Federation, another more before the team, a different one before the player’s accountant, and still another one before the tax authorities.
The contrast between a team with little financial noise, but with a solid sporting impact, marks this era of America, especially when there were years, with impressive payrolls, of enviable players, capable of seducing anyone.
In America blunderbusses were armed, such as that of Leo Beenhakker, or teams with Piojo López, Iván Zamorano, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Pável Pardo, and later Salvador Cabañas, Chucho Benítez, Aquivaldo Mosquera would be added, without detracting from teams as in the time of Alfredo Tena, Javier Aguirre, Enrique Borja, Alberto de la Torre, Carlos Reinoso, Roberto Hodge, Pata Bendita Castro or Héctor Miguel Zelada.
Recently, America placed Raúl Jiménez, Edson Álvarez and Diego Lainez in Europe, and the Argentines Guido Rodríguez and Agustín Marchesín, but there are no footballers of that level in the current squad. The closest in projection is Sebastián Córdova.
The architect in turn was given clay instead of clay, to build an empire. Santiago ‘El Indiecito’ Solari inherited the ruins after the abrupt departure of Miguel Herrera. In his first glimpse of the squad, the Argentine coach’s reflection must have been disconsolate.
Fortunately, the ‘Piojo’ Herrera had advanced the arrivals of Pedro Aquino and Mauro Lainez, but ‘El Indiecito’ could only immediately add Álvaro Fidalgo, arriving from the bench of the Second Division of Spain.
And it was a team that had collapsed in the anemic Mexican soccer stock market. Roger Martínez was in rebellion; Renato Ibarra was poisoned meat; Nico Benedetti was still on his injury sabbatical; Nico Castillo was evicted, and Andrés Ibargüen was a coin toss.
In addition, Federico Viñas entered a play loss, and the other arrived from Real Madrid, the Paraguayan Sergio Díaz, ended up as a free agent, without a team, and waiting for an opportunity in 2022, without mentally recovering from the cruciate ligament injury. who suffered at Deportivo Lugo at age 19. Leo Suarez? Between injuries and inconsistencies. Only Richard Sánchez appeared as a fixed workhorse.
Paul Aguilar left a gap in defense on the right, while Henry Martín had barely managed to consolidate with Miguel Herrera at the end of 2020, but he returned to the ups and downs. Jorge Sánchez is still a mystery. Bruno Valdez and Emanuel Aguilera, between injuries and lean afternoons, were already beginning to arouse concerns.
As can be seen, an unappetizing squad, also denigrated by its own players, when a video appeared in May – already with a semester of Solari management -, worthy of an adult site, in which Nico Benedetti jump as protagonists and Roger Martínez, and as idle witnesses, Richard Sánchez and Leo Suárez.
Who could want for the Clausura 2021 or for this Apertura 2021, such a crowd of players without an apparent future?
It is clear, the “poor” America enriches the Liga Mx. And perhaps it is one of the most “poor” versions in quality, renown and media power in the history of the team.
For this tournament, players arrived as reinforcements who twitched the nerves of their fans. Anxious for a media bomb, she is outraged by the arrivals of Miguel Layún, Salvador Reyes, Fernando Madrigal and Mario Osuna. And they all arrive as they like to the new financial policy of El Nido: three pesos cheaper than free.
However, Layún has taken a second wind, especially in recent games, while Salvador Reyes, in his natural position, as a left winger, is the best in the Liga Mx. Madrigal and Osuna are not out of tune, due to the assembly and strategy of the team: very compact, high brand, little wear, with functional solidity, despite the fact that at the bottom, in the center, leaks sometimes become drains.
Solari was not wrong in choosing the form of America’s game, true, boring, sullen, bland, almost disgusting, when looking for a show. But, the team was sub-leader in its first year, and it was only below Cruz Azul, due to the generosity of its owner, Emilio Azcárraga Jean, by donating three points to his most attentive server, Alejandro Irarragorri, and his team, the Atlas.
This Apertura 2021 has taken control of the tournament. Only Toluca shook him brutally with a 3-1 that should have been more scandalous. He has ten victories, four draws, and is, together with Atlas, the defense with the fewest goals in the tournament.
Without a doubt, Santiago Solari has surpassed Miguel Herrera when achieving performance from these players. Proof of this is that he has drawn water from a stone, like the hopeless Roger Martínez, although without the desired consistency, but he has even returned to the Colombian national team. Benedetti, at least, is no longer injured after the minute of play, although the coach still suffers to rescue Federico Viñas and Henry Martín, who is far from the level shown in the 2020 Apertura, when he had finally convinced Miguel Herrera.
Obviously, with the performance of the team, the players have been revalued. Ochoa remains reliable; Layún seeks to fulfill his promise to return to the national team; Reyes is already brightening Gerardo Martino’s myopia; Sánchez, Aquino and Fidalgo may be the best midfield in Mexico, and all of them went from medium hair transfers to high prices. Wow, even Sebastián Cáceres is under the sights of Uruguay, a country where this type of player even occurs in vacant lots.
Yes, one of the poorest teams in the history of America, enriches the Liga Mx, takes over the top, and is the first to arrive at the Fiesta Grande de la Liguilla.
And this scenario also marks, and so well, that there is a way to put together competitive teams –although they threaten the show-, without the need for insane waste. Proof of this, Chivas, who only used one (Canelo Angulo) of his famished bombastic reinforcements as a starter in the miraculous draw against Cruz Azul.
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The ‘poor’ America enriches the Liga Mx