Club America wasted no time in making sure these playoffs would be different.
After four scoreless matches in the Apertura playoffs, America opened the scoring in the first minute of Thursday's first leg against Pumas, with Mateus Uribe nodding a goal home.
Uribe would add to his total and Jeremy Menez added a pair of goals from the penalty spot as America eased to a win at the CU.
Now back home at the Estadio Azteca, Las Aguilas must finish off a Pumas team frustrated but still holding out hope for a dramatic comeback and a place in the semifinals.
|Game||America vs. Pumas|
|Date||Saturday, May 5|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
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Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Jimenez, Leon, Marchesin, Pineda|
|Defenders||Aguilar, Aguilera, Alvarez, Cedillo, Orrantia, Valdez, Vargas|
|Midfielders||Arce, Corona, Cordova, Cruz, Da Silva, Ibarra, Rodríguez, Uribe, Zamora|
|Forwards||Diaz, Dominguez, Ibarguen, Lainez, Marin, Martin, Menez, Peralta|
Center back Emanuel Aguilera remains out with a sprained ankle suffered on the final weekend of the season. Paraguayan duo Cecilio Dominguez and Bruno Valdez were involved in a car accident Thursday but were unharmed.
Potential starting XI: Marchesin; Aguilar, Alvarez, Valdez, Vargas; Uribe, Rodriguez; Ibarra, Menez, Dominguez; Peralta
|Goalkeepers||Saldivar, Magana, Castillo|
|Defenders||Van Rankin, Arribas, Quintana, Mendoza, Fuentes, Garcia, Jaquez, Gonzalez|
|Midfielders||Escamilla, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Jurado, Zamudio, Gallardo, Diaz, Calderon, Formica|
|Forwards||Barrera, Guerron, Alustiza, Figueroa, Asprilla, Acosta, Castillo, Torres|
Pumas may make changes not because of injury or suspension but because of the adverse result in the first leg.
Potential starting XI: Saldivar; Mozo, Arribas, Quintana, Fuentes; Barrera, Diaz, Cabrera, Gallardo; Alustiza; Castillo
Betting & Match Odds
Things should be mostly academic for Club America in this one. With four away goals thanks to a 4-1 stomping of Mexico City rival Pumas on Wednesday, Las Aguilas have an enormous advantage going into Saturday's second leg.
Mateus Uribe starred in the first leg with Jeremy Menez's return from injury also serving as a big boost for Club America.
Miguel Herrera's men, of course, can't simply focus on the semifinals just yet. Pumas were frustrated after the match, as evidenced by Alejandro Arribas flipping off his own supporters (who were launching profane attacks on the players they claim to support).
But several players, including Arribas and Marcelo Diaz said they're still confident they can get a result. With America having four away goals and the second tiebreaker as well, thanks to a better regular season finish, Pumas would need to win by four in any reasonably likely scenario.
That could spell trouble. While Nicolas Castillo scored from the spot in the first leg, the Chilean forward didn't get the support he needs from wide players Jesus Gallardo and Pablo Barrera, nor was second striker Matias Alustiza as involved as he needs to be with Guido Rodriguez marking him out of the match.
Pumas manager David Patino has had a roller coaster of a season, but unless he's able to dream up a magical game plan, the ride is over for Pumas.