A Clásico is a match between two rival teams in the world of football and there are plenty of them in el mundo hispano-hablante. Clásicos De Futbol is a monthly series that delves into the rivalry of a different set of teams. This month, it’s back to Mexico with two teams battling out for the division title: Club de Fútbol América (Las Águilas) vs. Cruz Azul Futbol Club, A.C (La Máquina).
On Oct. 12th, 1916, a group of students from Colegio Mascarones and La Perpetua met at La Condesa in Mexico City to discuss the name of their new team, composed of the best soccer players from both schools. Pedro “El Cheto” Quintanilla suggested the name América as the date coincided with that of Columbus’ arrival in the New World.
Before then, in 1881, the construction company known as Sociedad Cooperativa Manufacturera de Cemento Portland La Cruz Azul S.C.L, a.k.a. Cooperativa Cruz Azul, was founded in Hacienda de Jasso, Hidalgo. Its workers would, years later, put together a football team that was officially christened as Club Deportivo Cruz Azul on May 22nd, 1927. They spent many decades fiddle-faddling around in the amateur leagues until 1964 when they were promoted to the first division.
The rivalry between these two is known as El Clásico Joven (The Young Clásico) most likely because it is the youngest/newest rivalry in the Mexican league. The first match between these two popular teams didn’t occur until August 30th 1964.
Cruz Azul’s popularity rose greatly during the 1960s and the owners decided to move the team from Jasso (renamed as Ciudad Cooperativa Cruz Azul) to Mexico City in 1970 where it shared the Estadio Azteca with América until 1996. That’s when they moved into the Estadio Olímpico de la Ciudad de los Deportes, now known as the Estadio Azul.
Naturally, sharing a stadium with another team in your own city, especially one that decided to move in on your home turf due to an explosive rise in popularity didn’t sit well with América and its fans. The tension exploded on the field on July 9th, 1972 when Cruz Azul defeated América 4 – 1 during the league final. Thus, a rivalry was born.
El CLÁSICO JOVEN IN THE LEAGUE TOURNAMENTS OF 2013
The rivalry took on a freeway series earlier this year when both teams faced each other in the Clausura 2013 final. Cruz Azul took the lead in the first game when they beat their rivals 1 – 0 at their Estadio Azul thanks to an early goal from Christian “Chaco” Giménez.
The second leg saw La Máquina take another early lead in the Estadio Azteca but América went on to tie the game in the last five minutes of the match, despite being down a man, and beat Cruz Azul in penalties to win the league trophy.
The win also provided the internet with the opportunity to make some really sweet GIFs:
Unfortunately, it also gave us a mental image we will never be able to block from our minds, that of Televisa/América owner Emilio Azcárraga drunk out of his mind and dancing with his shirt off in the rain:
Cruz Azul and América are participating in this season’s Liguilla (Apertura 2013) alongside Club Santos Laguna, Club León, Deportivo Toluca, Monarcas Morelia, Querétaro Fútbol Club, and Tigres de la UANL. The tournament, which could potentially see a repeat of the Clausura 2013, began this past weekend with the first game of the two-legged quarterfinals.
Cruz Azul found themselves behind Toluca 3 – 0 and must recover by scoring 4 unanswered goals in the second leg of their playoff on Saturday Nov. 30th. Las Águilas played out to a 2-goal draw against Tigres and have the advantage going into Sunday’s game at the Azteca.