I am sure the irony is not lost on most Club America fans. Only one day after Pancho Hernandez, the catalyst of the Club’s glorious past, shuffled off this mortal coil, America sacked its coach, Manuel Lapuente. In another vain attempt to rekindle its past glories, they named their greatest ambassador, Chilean Carlos Reinoso, as the next coach. Reinoso, coincidentally, was scouted and signed by the late Mr. Hernandez.
The man who tried not to let the door hit him on the way out of Coapa was Manuel Lapuente. After a decent Apertura, the Aguilas stumbled, spun around and have collapsed out of the gate. They have only one point to show for their efforts, and even that lone digit came from a stunning injury time effort in the Chiapan jungle.
How did the front office handle the situation? In the typical Mexican league fashion, of course. They fired the coach. Not only do I hope that coaches in Mexico rent instead of buy, but I also would counsel that they go month to month on their lease. The average life span of an MFL coach is 3 months. Not even a full short season.
Mayflies have a better chance of survival.
Back to America. Of course they could have started better. But the coach isn’t the one missing point blank shots or going to sleep on defense at the wrong time. They weren’t playing terribly, they just weren’t playing well. And they certainly weren’t “attacking like Barcelona and defending like Inter” like Lapuente promised they would. The truth is America is playing about where they should be. They have a few good players, but they have absolutely no great players. They’ll figure this out, but they won’t win any trophies. No one on that team scares anyone. Not like America used to, anyway.
Frankly, I have trouble recognizing Club America. The America I came to know and respect had superstars on every line of the formation. They played with style, got into the other teams’ heads and usually had them beat before they ever set foot on the pitch. They may not have won everything, but they died trying, and looked good doing it.
The front office has tried to recapture that magic, but have yet to find the right combination of players. Truth be told, they were always going to have a very hard time finding a replacement for Salvador Cabañas.
Perhaps they should learn from the man who laid the foundation for the team’s enormous success.
Patience. Patience seems to have been eradicated from the Mexican Futbol handbook.
Hernandez spent a month on the road scouting a prospect. He made sure he watched two performances at home and on the road before he rendered his decision. He didn’t hit on all of them, of course, but the ones he did bring into the fold made history.
His biggest catch now has been tasked to make it happen.