Reigning FA Cup champions Manchester City kick off their North American tour when they take on Mexican giant Club América in the Herbalife World Football Challenge on Saturday night (8 pm ET, TeleFutura) at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The match will be the first of three in the tournament for each team, and while it will be the first preseason match for the Citizens, las Águilas are already deep into their preparation, as this tilt will serve as their fifth — and toughest yet — preseason test.
América enter the new season with a bit of a new look.
In an overhaul that saw seven players leave the club — including icons Guillermo Ochoa (signed with Ligue 1 club Ajaccio) and Pável Pardo (unattached) — the Águilas welcomed six incorporations, with Mexican international Paul Aguilar and Ecuadorian Christian Benítez as their biggest reinforcements.
The overhaul seems to be doing wonders for manager Carlos Reinoso’s attack-happy squad, who, since playing Mexico’s Under-20 team to a 2-2 draw in late June, have pulled off consecutive wins against the Portland Timbers and fellow Mexican clubs Monarcas and Atlas.
América’s biggest challenge of the preseason to date will come against Manchester United, and it’s a test they’ll have to face without last year’s Primera División top scorer Ángel Reyna, who suffered a fractured toe during the match against Portland.
After putting together arguably their most successful season to date — third in league play, an FA Cup championship and a Champions League berth — Manchester City not only altered the EPL landscape by finishing above two of the Big Four, but they seem poised to make a league title run this season.
When the Citizens begin their new campaign, they might do so without two figures from their successful season. Midfielder Patrick Vieira announced his retirement from the game on Thursday, and Carlos Tévez, who finished on par with Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov for EPL Golden Boot honors, has stated his desire to leave the club.
Rumors abound that manager Roberto Mancini is keen on bringing in Atlético Madrid striker Sergio Agüero should Tévez depart, but until then, he must work with what he’s got and will be eager to throw new signings Gaël Clichy and Stefan Savic into the mix on Saturday.
Club América: Vicente Sánchez
With Reyna sidelined with a fractured toe, the onus on offense will fall on Sánchez. Named team captain Reinoso, the Uruguayan international is an agile and speedy forward whose strength lies in creating chances for teammates with his gifted left foot.
Manchester City: David Silva
The Citizens will rely on the skills of the 25-year-old Spanish international to create some midfield magic. Usually deployed as an attacking midfielder by Mancini, Silva has the eyesight of an eagle and is capable of delivering deadly assists to the frontmen.