MatchDay Preview: Historic Club América visits Portland
The first leg of historic Mexican side Club América’s preseason U.S. tour kicks off Thursday night with an international friendly against the Timbers at 8 p.m. at JELD-WEN Field (8pm PT, Live webstream in English & Spanish at www.portlandtimbers.com, 750 AM The Game, La Pantera 940 AM - TICKETS).
Las Águilas traveled with a roster featuring a mixture of youth and experience including Mexican Primera División 2011 Clausura-leading goal scorer Ángel Reyna, fresh off a stint with the Mexican National Team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup (which Mexico won 4-2 over the United States).
Reyna, 26, can play both as a midfielder or forward and is skillful in ball handling and field vision and may just be hitting his prime as a player. His league-leading 13 goals during the 2011 Clausura tournament was a career-best for the six-year veteran.
Joining Reyna on the roster are veteran defender Óscar Rojas (who has more the 200 appearances for Club América), striker Matías Vuoso, midfielder Daniel Montenegro and newly-named first-team goalkeeper Armando Navarette.
Former No. 1 goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa recently completed a transfer to newly-promoted French Ligue 1 side AC Ajaccio.
Ahead of Thursday night’s match, the first of six matches in the U.S. for Club América, head coach Carlos Reinoso said preparing for the upcoming 2011-12 Primera División season is the main goal.
“To prepare for the Mexican tournament is very important, but we cannot forget about our Mexican fans in the US and so they can see their team play and remain happy with the team,” Reinoso said in Spanish through a translator after training on Wednesday morning.
Not very familiar with the Timbers, Reinoso also mentioned Club América would do their due diligence in getting up to speed prior to Thursday’s match.
“Very little,” Reinoso said when asked how much he knew about the Timbers. “We’re going to watch video today so we can get to know them a little better and take the game very seriously. It’s a preseason match, but we’re trying to take it as seriously as possible to prepare for the season.”
“We need to adapt to the field and to the atmosphere,” Reyna added in Spanish. “I don’t know very much of the team itself, but being from MLS it will be a pretty dynamic team and strong.”
Following Thursday’s match, Club América travels to Phoenix for a match-up with 2011 Clausura runners-up Morelia on July 10. Las Águilas also face Mexican side Atlas, English Premier League cub Manchester City, Italian side Juventus and UEFA Champions League title-winners Barcelona during the rest of their preseason tour.
“First of all we have to think about winning, be it against a team from MLS or a Mexican League team,” Reyna said. “We need to finish the preseason well and get a good rhythm for the team (moving forward).”