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Club America Bested Against Real Esteli FC: Key Takeaways

Estadio Independencia de Estelí, where Real Esteli defeated Club America

In a shocking result underdogs Real Esteli FC out-bested Club America beating them in the first leg 2-1. The start to the Concacaf Champions Cup for Las Aguilas has officially started off on the wrong foot. Despite entering the game as favorites, America faced setbacks that underscore significant lessons for the team and coaching staff. Two early mistakes in defense, one in each half, cost America the game. Followed by poor game management and little to no creativity to break down Esteli’s defense meant America had no answers. Manager André Jardine once again was stumped by a team who just sat back all game. His tactics never quite changed or adapted to the moment and the substitutions came a bit late.

Club America Bested Against Real Esteli FC: Key Takeaways

Emilio Lara’s Defensive Vulnerability

The match against Real Esteli highlighted Club America’s defensive frailties, particularly Emilio Lara. The 21-year old Mexican center back has struggled to really thrive defensively at the right back position. An issue that has been present since previous manager Fernando Ortiz began utilizing him there. His early penalty giveaway set the tone for the night creating an uphill battle for America to climb. Lara, who was already coming into this game with criticism over his giveaway against Monterrey in the league, never really settled into the game defensively. Real Esteli took advantage of this and in the second half scored their second goal. A header from Marvin Fletes, who was being marked by Lara. This defensive vulnerability has now cost America three goals in their past two games. Something that was not a trend for this team who had shutout their opponents in there first four games.

Missed Opportunities Upfront

Despite dominating possession and creating several scoring opportunities, Club America’s forwards lacked the efficiency in the final third. The first half alone had numerous missed chances that could have changed the course of the game. This inefficiency in front of goal is a growing concern for a team that prides itself on its attacking prowess. Especially after this team was the league leader in goals last season where they got crowned champions. Missed opportunities, particularly from players like Illian Hernández and Alejandro Zendejas, highlights the need for more clinical finishing. Also, perhaps a reassessment of the attacking strategies employed by Jardine.

Substitutions and Tactical Adjustments

The match brought to light Andre Jardine’s tactical decisions, particularly his substitutions. They were intended to shift the momentum in America’s favor but the changes came a little too late. The team desperately needed and injection of creativity in the midfield. The addition of Alvaro Fidalgo and Diego Valdes where the right to make but it seemed that the team could have used them from the start at the second half. While the late goal by Julián Quiñones provided a glimmer of hope, the overall impact of the changes raises questions about the timing and choice of substitutions. Jardine’s strategy to revitalize the team’s performance did inject some energy but seemed insufficient to completely turn the tide. This situation also highlights the struggle America continue to have in the final third. The team easily gets frustrated and as the game progresses, they continue to be rigged in their attack.

What is Next for Club America?

Before Club America prepares for the return leg they will have to shift focus on the league. They face a tough challenge as they go on the road to face off against Club Leon. The match will be a perfect opportunity for America to write their wrongs and work on their mistakes. The defense for the most part collectively is fine, but they will need to sort out the right back spot. Offensively, enhancing the team’s finishing ability and decision-making in critical moments will be important. Lastly, tactical adjustments and the use of substitutes need to be more impactful, requiring a deeper understanding of the game’s flow and player capabilities.

Club America will have to wait a week to try and erase this past game from fans memory. Unfortunately, they wont be able to rely on the intimidating factor that is playing at the Azteca Stadium, as this game will be played in the Ciudad De Los Deportes stadium. The return leg presents an opportunity for redemption and a chance to demonstrate that lessons have been learned and applied. As the team moves forward, the focus will undoubtedly be on addressing these key areas to ensure that America can live up to its reputation and ambitions on the continental stage.

Read More: Club America’s Quest for Concacaf Glory

Last Word

While the defeat was unexpected and disappointing, it offers valuable lessons. It also brings to light things André Jardine will need to fix in order to turn the season around. Club America’s quest for success in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and beyond will come down to whether or not they are able to adapt. With the right adjustments and mindset, Club America has the potential to turn this setback into a stepping stone for future triumphs.


Photo credit: EliasPro14 on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED


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