Club America keep rolling as Clausura starts

Posted by Andrea Canales

Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty ImagesClub America's new coach, Antonio Mohamed, took criticism in stride as his side cruised to victory in their Clausura opener.

It's not enough that Club America is widely understood to be the wealthiest club in Liga MX, and it's not just that they have by far the league's biggest stadium, not to mention most fervent fans, eleven league titles and back-to-back final appearances, either.

According to Ricardo Ferreti, the coach of Tigres, Club America also gains an extra advantage from the league referees.

His bitter statement to the press came after a 3-0 victory by Club America over Tigres in the opening weekend of the Liga MX 2014 Clausura season, a result that condemned Tigres to the bottom of the league table.

"I'm going to give this advice to my colleagues -- when you have to play versus [Club] America, prepare to play versus 12," Ferreti said.

That verbal shot across the bow of Club America's ship clearly means that despite Leon winning the title last season, the club so many people love to hate is still a major target. Ferreti, and likely other coaches, will not tolerate any perceived favors given to Las Aguilas by the officials.

Granted, it may have been a bit of gamesmanship on Ferreti's part designed to shake up Club America's new coach, Antonio Mohamed. He appeared unconcerned, however, with the gist of his response to Ferreti's complaint consisting of the "scoreboard" defense. Mohamed pointed out that the three-goal victory was comprehensive enough to leave the final outcome little changed by a bad call.

The idea that Club America may be head and shoulders above the other clubs in Liga MX was indeed reflected in the scoreboard. No other team playing scored three goals. Also, no other team won by more than a single goal.

Indeed, of all the playoff teams from the Apertura 2013, only Queretaro and Toluca managed to join Club America in the win column. Queretaro took down Morelia with an early goal from Miguel Angel Martinez, while Toluca finished off Pachuca with a late goal from Pablo Velasquez.

A new season means a fresh start, and certain teams at the bottom of the table last season appear to have taken that to heart. Chivas was able to claim a point against Santos Laguna, battling to a 1-1 draw. Lowly Atlante managed the same scoreline versus the defending champions, Leon, perhaps giving an early warning that Atlante does not intend to go gently into the goodnight of relegation.

Pumas also gave signals of a resurgence of good form, scoring two versus Puebla. Martin Bravo had both of the goals for Pumas, showing his willingness to carry the team. Sadly for Pumas fans, however, the defense let the team down and surrendered the lead in order to settle for a mere draw.

The parity in Liga MX this season showed through with a number of draws. Cruz Azul was scoreless versus Monterrey. Club Tijuana and Atlas were likewise unable to do any damage to one another. Veracruz and Chiapas FC exchanged a pair of goals in the first half to finish at one-all.

So despite the changes in the new year, one element continues from last season -- Club America tops the table. It remains to be seen whether other teams will wait to challenge their supremacy in the playoffs, or whether the current momentum of the azulcrema squad will falter given that many players will probably be pulled into World Cup preparation matches for El Tri.

The fine form of Luis Gabriel Rey, Paul Aguilar and Raul Jimenez, the goalscorers for Club America in the victory over Tigres, however, indicates that the squad hasn't missed a beat in the short layoff between seasons and through the transition to a new coach.

That could mean a lot more hate from other coaches and teams could come their way in this Clausura 2014.

Liga MX Results, Week One:
Morelia 0-1 Queretaro; Santos 1-1 Guadalajara; America 3-0 U.A.N.L.; Monterrey 0-0 Cruz Azul; Pachuca 0-1 Toluca; Atlas 0-0 Tijuana; Chiapas 1-1 Veracruz; UNAM 2-2 Puebla; Atlante 1-1 Leon

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