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SOCCER

América have won eight games in a row - but how good are they really?

América may lead the way in the Liga MX Apertura 2022 standings, but many of Las Águilas’ wins have come against teams languishing lower down the table.

Edgardo Avelar
Update:
America's Fernando Ortiz after their victory against San Luis during their Apertura 2022 Tournament football match at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City, on September 6, 2022. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP)
ALFREDO ESTRELLAAFP

Club América are enjoying a sensational run of form, having won their last eight Liga MX games to sit top of the Apertura 2022 standings, level on 28 points with Rayados. But is Las Águilas’ sequence of victories a true reflection of where they’re at as a team?

Three wins against fellow top-eight teams

That’s not to take away from their achievement, but simply to point out that of their total of nine wins this season, only three have come against teams that are in the top eight.

In week three, América were 1-0 winners against a Toluca side that lie sixth with 22 points. In week nine, a 3-0 triumph then followed against Pachuca, who are currently fourth in the table with 25 points. And in week 12, Fernando Ortiz’s men beat fifth-placed Tigres 2-1.

América’s six other victories were against teams struggling lower down the league, a line-up of clubs that features Juárez in 14th, Cruz Azul in 16th, Pumas in 15th, Querétaro in 18th, and Atlético San Luis, who are 12th - the final spot in which teams can still reach the playoffs. América also beat Mazatlán, who are in 10th position.

Can América do it on the playoff stage?

Doubts have therefore been raised as to whether the leaders are truly capable of success once they go into the playoffs (seemingly as a direct qualifier, with a tie against one of the eight play-in teams up first).

Obviously, there can be no denying that América are playing well right now, but the fact that two of their defeats this term have been against teams in 11th and 13th - León and Tijuana, respectively - has also prompted question marks.

América beaten by Rayados in biggest test

Los Americanistas’ sternest examination of the Apertura 2022 came against their closest challengers in the standings, Rayados - and the men from Monterrey came out on top, defeating the Mexico City side 3-2 in week two. It was a game that offered up a glimpse of what could happen to América in what promises to be a close-fought playoffs.

However, it’s also worth noting that Rayados themselves only have two victories over any of the top eight - one against América, the other over eighth-placed Necaxa.

Santos, Pachuca, Toluca and Tigres likewise have two wins against a side between first and eighth, while the same is also the case of Chivas. Guadalajara have fought back valiantly to sit seventh, but it remains to be seen whether they’ve recovered sufficiently to have a decisive impact on the playoffs.

Finally, the remaining occupants of the top 12 - Necaxa, Puebla, Mazatlán, León and Atlético San Luis - have just a single victory against teams in eighth and above.

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