Los Angeles Soccer: Gregory Ruiz

America's romp could pay Guatemala dividends

December, 29, 2010
12/29/10
11:08
PM PT
The good news for Guatemala: Its foes at next month's Copa Centroamericana aren't going to be as talented as the Club America side it battled Wednesday night in El Reto Aguila in front of 18,632 at the Home Depot Center.

The bad news: The Chapines are going to have to mature, and fast, to contend with those foes.


America romped to a 4-1 triumph in a game much closer than the score suggests -- one goal separated the sides until the 82th minute -- yet just as one-sided as a three-goal victory ought to be.

The Mexico City powerhouse played a first-choice lineup -- all but injured Rosinei -- in its next-to-last prep before the Mexican Primera Division kicks off its Clausura season the second weekend of January, and it looks ready to make two title runs: in the domestic championship and Copa Libertadores.

The three-pronged attack -- Vicente Sanchez, Matias Vuoso and Daniel Montenegro, with midfielders Miguel Layun and newcomer Nicolas Olivera plus right back Oscar Rojas in support -- deserved more than it produced, and veteran Pavel Pardo masterfully laid a foundation in midfield for the attackers. And goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, America's reigning superstar, handled almost everything the game Guatemalans threw at him.

America went ahead on Vuoso's 19th-minute penalty kick -- Jaime Vides clipped Sanchez after a superb ball into space from Olivera -- and asserted command on a game-altering, end-to-end sequence about 10 minutes before the end of the first half.

The Chapines' inexperienced lineup had stayed with America the first 35 minutes. Carlos Figueroa, one of just five starters with more than 15 caps, was alternately awful and awesome, and he was both at a crucial juncture.

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