Thursday, May 17, 2007

America's challenge

What started out in Houston, Dallas and Carson, Calif., is now in Estadio Azteca and headed to Brazil as America and Santos of Brazil have reached the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals. The first leg went to neither side as it finished 0-0.

But America must also focus on its unfinished league business - a matchup against hated rivals Chivas in the Clausura 07 semifinals.

In games 24 hours apart, America will have contested a cup quarterfinal and a league semifinal match on the very same field. But in some ways America traded a shot of beating Santos at a chance of beating Chivas. Key players such as Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Salvador Cabanas subbed in at around the hour mark while other starters such as German Villa, Ricardo Rojas, Alejandro Arguello and Jose Antonio "Gringo" Castro didn't play at all.

It's a difficult position to be in but it's one that could have been avoided. The Mexican federation knew months in advance that such an improbable challenge could potentially face one of its clubs and did nothing about it. In the end, the ones who lost out were the more than 80,000 people who took in the America-Santos game in Mexico City on Wednesday only to see a half-strength squad try in vain to get a result.

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