Death. Taxes. Club América winning Liga MX. Some facts of life are forever, but still forever painful. When you tear off a band aid, the pain hits hard then fades. The pain I feel from each and every Aguilas triumph never diminishes.
When Club América beat Monterrey 3-0 in the first leg of the Liga MX semifinals, Chilean striker Humberto “Chupete” Suazo cried. No, not because he got hit with a flailing elbow or felt the studs of a vicious tackle. But rather because a three-goal cushion in a two-legged playoff pretty much seals your fate. Suazo knew at the final whistle he would soon return to Chile and leave Mexico a loser to Club América. We could have shared a box of tissues; his tears salty with remorse, mine with hate.
I wrote a week ago about how Liga MX’s playoff tiebreaker may be the most “cosmically just” of all, but no tiebreaker or away goals rule can compensate for a lifeless, tepid, boring second leg. The 0-0 Monterrey and América return leg was as dead a rubber as a game can be. I’m not spiteful enough where I watch and cross my fingers for an injury to a key Aguilas player, but only a bench-clearing brawl could have injected life into the game. The scoreline was nil, as was the entertainment value, which begs the question: do playoffs deserve to exist when they are just rubber stamps or walk-thrus for the regular season champ? Are they just a means to gate revenue and a toss of a bone, a sliver of hope to lower teams? Could we just hand America the trophy already?
I can’t answer that rhetorical question, but my mind has recently wandered to things less painful than watching América winning Liga MX. An enema with battery acid. A root canal without Novocaine. A spinal tap sans Anesthesia. Getting burned alive while somehow drowning at the same time.
Granted, not all people share my feelings. As Fidel “Not Castro” Martinez noted in a rebuttal piece, Club América didn’t win a single title in the 1990s. However, let’s be realistic. The ’90s were scarred for us haters by non-sports matters, like the emergence of the Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, and the election of George W. Bush as president of the U.S. We didn’t have time to gloat at América’s failures.
Also, in the grander picture, Club América is fighting for its 20th title since 1943, when Liga MX went professional. Yes, the ’90s was a barren decade, but most clubs go several years without winning anything. Many go decades without sniffing a trophy or a finals appearance. You can complain about the lack of promotion-relegation and existence of drafts and salary caps in North American leagues, but each season you can’t pick the winner or take a stab at the top group. Liga MX’s quasi-European model of narrow relegation (a single team) with no salary cap means the rich get richer and stay comfortably rich.
Thus, only one team remains between Club América and a title: Tigres. They won the Copa MX, which is good for them, but, even though I love them, don’t expect Herculez Gomez and Jose Torres to strike fear into hearts of Oribe Peralta and Miguel Layun. Tigres have three Liga MX titles in about 50 years of existence, a decent enough tally, but this season not a single player scored more than five goals.
Can their chameleon-esque 4-3-3 hold out against the América onslaught? Unlikely. América has the advantage of playing the return leg at home at the Estadio Azteca and, of course, of being América.
Tigres will fight valiantly but, as in the regular season, likely finish a noble second. Only an unrelated political protest in the D.F. can stop América’s parade.