Tour 2018: Get to know our opponents Club America
Our profile provides everything you need to know about Manchester United's Mexican opponents in our opening match of Tour 2018, presented by Aon…
The stadium: The venue for our first match of Tour 2018, University of Phoenix Stadium, will present new surroundings for the Reds. The Glendale-based arena officially holds 63,400 fans but is expandable to 72,200 and, with standing room, can house 78,600 spectators - so it should make for a fervent atmosphere when we kick off our latest venture across the pond. It's currently the home of NFL side Arizona Cardinals and the annual Fiesta Bowl, an American college football bowl game. Previous events held at the stadium include the Super Bowl in 2008 and 2015, as well as matches in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2016 Copa America.
Previous meetings: United have locked horns with Club America twice before, with the first occasion back in July 2003 during the Champions World Series pre-season tournament. After a goalless first half, a stunning strike from Ruud van Nistelrooy and a brace from Diego Forlan gave the Reds a 3-1 victory in front of 57,000 fans in Los Angeles. More recently, United met the Mexicans in the first match of Tour 2015 in the USA, during Louis van Gaal’s tenure as manager. A header from Morgan Schneiderlin, five minutes into his debut for the Reds, proved the difference in a 1-0 win at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, in an International Champions Cup match.
Head coach: The current man at the helm is Miguel Herrera, who is remembered most for his spell in charge of the Mexico national team, spanning almost two years. He led El Tri to qualification for the 2014 World Cup and made headlines for his wild goal celebrations on the sidelines during the tournament in Brazil, where they reached the last 16 and were unfortunate to be knocked out by the Netherlands, who scored twice late on to win 2-1. He also guided Mexico to success in the Gold Cup in July 2015 but was sacked two days later for an alleged altercation with a reporter. An imposing and divisive figure, the 50-year-old former defender is in his second spell as manager of Club America, having returned in May 2017, and won the league championship in his first spell in 2013.
Star man: Jeremy Menez was linked with a move to Old Trafford earlier in his career and is one of only a few players in the current Club America squad who boast experience of playing in Europe. The 31-year-old forward has spent time at a host of top clubs, including Monaco, Roma, Paris St-Germain, AC Milan and Bordeaux. He has also been capped 23 times for France and was part of their Euro 2012 squad. After making the move to Mexico from Turkish side Antalyaspor back in January, Menez has hit the ground running in his new surroundings and is among the Eagles’ chief threats in front of goal. They also boast exciting Colombian midfielder Mateus Uribe, who featured for his country at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and was Club America's top scorer in 2017/18 with 14 goals in all competitions.
This season: The Mexican top-flight season consists of 18 teams and is split into two championships – the Torneo Apertura and the Torneo Clausura. Club America finished third with 30 points from 17 games in the Apertura 2017, the regular season which runs between July and November, to be one of eight teams to advance to the Liguilla championship phase, where they were knocked out in the semi-final stage after a 4-0 defeat against Tigres. In the Clausura 2018, which ran between January and May, Herrera’s team went one better and finished second, before reaching the semi-finals of Liguilla again, where they lost 6-3 to Santos Laguna on aggregate over two legs.
Did you know? Like United, Club America can be proud of its blossoming youth academy, which has produced star players for a number of European clubs over the years – including Sevilla’s former Watford defender Miguel Layun, Porto’s Diego Reyes and Benfica forward Raul Jiminez. The Mexican outfit also featured on the big stage at the Club World Cup in Japan as recently as 2016 but were beaten in the semi-finals by Real Madrid, as goals from former United star Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema gave the Spanish side a 2-0 victory.