SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 16: Club America fans cheer on their team against Manchester City in a friendly match at AT&T Park on July 16, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Manchester City won 2-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Liga MX, Week 1: Club America Hold Monterrey

The Club America defense exceeded expectations as Miguel Herrera got the better of Victor Manuel Vucetich, setting up his team well go grab an impressive 0-0 road draw.

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Monterrey Vs. America, 2012 Apertura: Final Score, Aguilas Solid In 0-0 Draw

Monterrey don't regularly drop points at Estadio Technologico and they almost never lose, so Club America should be happy with their season-opening performance up north. They put together an impressive defensive display on Saturday night to grab a 0-0 draw against one of their main competitors for the Liga MX title.

America have mostly played with a back four under Miguel Herrera, but went to a back five to counter Monterrey's two talented strikers, Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris. Neither was poor, but they also struggled to create scoring opportunities, as right back/midfielder Efrain Juarez played surprisingly well as a right central defender.

'Rolfi' Daniel Montenegro was the man of the match for America, with multiple shots on target. He got his club off to a strong start in both halves, forcing Javier Orozco into a save in the 2nd minute, then right after the halftime whistle in the 46th minute. He produced his team's best chance of the game in the 75th minute, when he beat Orozco with a long shot, but the ball curled away from the goal and bounced off the post.

Monterrey had most of the possession and a few half-chances, but most of their best efforts were blocked by defenders before they ever got to young Hugo Gonzalez, who looked composed in net. The Rayados' best chance came in the 39th minute, when Suazo hit the crossbar with a fantastic strike. For the most part, they struggled to break down the America defense. Hopefully for Victor Manuel Vucetich, this was a one-match hiccup, as opposed to a look ahead into what life will be like in Monterrey without departed midfielder Luis Ernesto Perez.


Tijuana Vs. Puebla, 2012 Apertura: Final Score, Xolos Win 2-0 Comfortably

The Tijuana Xolos hope to be a Liguilla contender, well clear of the relegation zone over the next two tournaments, and they looked the part in their 2-0 victory over Puebla on Friday. Puebla have fixed their tax issues and are more stable than they were a year ago, but still played like a relegation contender in their Liga MX opener.

Xolos dominated play from the start and were unlucky not to get a penalty in the 6th minute, when captain Javier Gandolfi was taken down on the edge of the penalty area, but the referee waived play on. The next time they committed a foul in a dangerous spot, they weren't as lucky. In the 9th minute, Jorge Gastelum took down Leandro Augusto on the edge of the penalty area, and Fernando Arce scored on the ensuing free kick to give Tijuana the lead. Alexandro Alvarez was in position to make a save, but couldn't keep the ball out of the net even though it hit him right in the hands.

DaMarcus Beasley of Puebla went down with an injury in the 21st minute and had to be substituted, seriously hindering Puebla's attack. It took until well into the second half for them to get anything going with their attack, but even when they started to look more lively late in the game, it never amounted to clear-cut scoring chances.

Tijuana sealed the victory in the 70th minute with another set piece, this time a corner kick. Augusto set up the chance with a backwards flick, right into the path of Pablo Aguilar, who headed in the clinching goal. Once again, Alvarez was in good position to make a stop but completely misread the header and let in a soft goal.


Jaguares Chiapas Vs. UANL Tigres, 2012 Apertura: Final Score, Tigres Roll 4-0

The Jaguares Chiapas defense wasn't expected to be fantastic this season, but they were truly embarrassed at home in their Liga MX opener on Friday night. With Edgar Andrade and Jackson Martinez in the lineup, Jaguares were regularly able to outscore opponents last season, but with Martinez gone and Andrade unavailable, the hosts had nothing going forward and they were demolished 4-0 by UANL Tigres.

With no Andrade or Martinez, Tigres didn't look like they believed Jaguares had the ability to cut open a deep defense, and they were absolutely right. Tigres' chances didn't come from great passing moves, but from set pieces, counter-attacks and long-range strikes. They didn't have to commit numbers forward to dominate the game.

Tigres scored their opening goal in the 7th minute, off of a corner kick, following a long spell of possession for Jaguares. Damien Alvarez delivered the ball into the box, and it was met with a header by Juninho. His effort struck the bar, but striker Alan Pulido was unmarked and easily put in the rebound.

Juninho would add a goal of his own in the 19th minute, also off of a set piece. This time, instead of going up for a header, he lurked outside the penalty area and thumped a fantastic volley into the back of the net after the ball deflected out to him. Lucas Lobos all but sealed the win in the 35th minute with a long-range goal that took a deflection off a Jaguares defender, giving Edgar Hernandez no chance to make a save. Manuel Viniegra completed the rout five minutes later with a close-range volley, finishing off a ball that was lofted into the box by Juninho.

Because a Tigres victory was all but assured, the second half was extremely uneventful. The best moment of the half came in the 78th minute, when new Jaguares acquisition, and substitute striker, Jhon Cordoba whiffed on what should have been an easy finish just in front of goal. It was a perfect microcosm of his team's performance.

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