Controversy with Club America’s semifinal loss overshadows doubts about their coach


Club América is the champion of CONCACAF and just touched down in Japan to represent the region at the Club World Cup. Spirits have been higher, though. The club is coming off a controversial defeat in Liga MX’s two-legged semifinal against inner-city rival Pumas.

América had hoped to force the league to reschedule the Apertura’s final, with Mexican media outlets already talking about the novelty of playing the round’s two legs around Christmas. Instead, Las Águilas disappointed, losing 4-3 over 180 minutes.

After seeing their team reduced to nine men in each game, Americanistas (as fans of the team are known) directed their animosity toward the officials, a convenient turn of events for Ignacio “Nacho” Ambriz. Somehow the América manager has escaped the brunt of any full-scale criticism. How his predecessors would’ve loved the same benefit of the doubt.

When Miguel Herrera left to take over the national team after leading the América to two straight finals, including the 2013 Clausura title, there was a big job to fill in América’s managerial box. Matching both the success and El Piojo charisma is no easy task:


The job fell to Antonio Mohamed, who took the reins and disappointed Americanists with elimination at the quarterfinal stage. The next tournament, however, the Argentine, who had won a title of his own with Tijuana, continued to put his own spin on the team, and América rolled to another title. However, even then, life wasn’t easy for the América coach. He clashed with club directors over trips to visit home and his style of play and eventually left the club.

So what do you do when you fire a title-winning coach who played a fun, attacking style? You bring in another title-winning coach with an attacking style. Enter Gustavo Matosas, who had led León to the two championships between Piojo’s Clausura 2013 win and Mohamed’s triumph in the 2014 Apertura. He did, indeed favor an attack style, and started favoring sharp dress as well (below), wearing bright blazers and donning tortoise-shell sunglasses. While you never would call Herrera a natty dresser, it seemed Matosas was trying to portray a cool that Herrera and Mohamed could not.

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It didn’t work. Fans wanted more from Matosas and weren’t pleased with how the team looked during the Clausura. Despite lifting the CONCACAF Champions League trophy and earning a second-place regular season finish, América’s quarterfinal elimination at the hands of Pachuca spelled the end for Matosas. He was fired after just one campaign.

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