Let's put to one side the discussion about the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) and just how crazy the tournament can be when one team wins 3-0 at home (Costa Rica's Herediano) and the other destroys it 6-0 (Liga MX's Club America) in the semifinal second leg of a continental competition.
All that can wait. Instead, America and coach Gustavo Matosas should be allowed to bask in its moment of glory in overcoming Costa Rica's Herediano by six goals in exceptional style.
Sure, America's wage bill and spending on transfers dictates that the team should be doing well in both the Liga MX and CCL, but there have been few such devastating and timely performances in the continental competition than the one America put on in front of a sold-out Estadio Azteca on Wednesday.
Tentatively, this was the night that coach Matosas' misfiring America clicked into gear and his team will go into the final against a Montreal Impact that have exceeded expectations as clear favorite. Certainly, Las Aguilas will provide a sterner test for the Canadian team than Pachuca (quarterfinal) and Alajuelense (semi), as America bid to bring CONCACAF's continental club title back to Mexico for the 10th consecutive occasion.
The star for Club America was Argentine Dario Benedetto, who netted four quality goals on the evening and said afterwards that this was his best night as a professional. The former Club Tijuana forward scored all of them in a 24 minute first half period, after teammate Darwin Quintero had netted the opener in the fourth minute, as America stormed forward from the first whistle and Herediano offered little in the way of resistance. Las Aguilas enjoyed 71 percent of possession over the 90 minutes and the scoreline could've been even more exaggerated.
With Herediano down to 10 players after Edder Nelson was sent off in the 27th and America 5-0 up, the game was all but over as a competitive affair at halftime, leaving the 90,000 America fans in the two-time World Cup stadium 45 minutes to soak up what was a historic victory.
Moving forward, the real breakthrough for Matosas was the way Benedetto combined with Oribe Peralta and Darwin Quintero in the final third. So far, the dangerous trio have failed to spark as a unit this year and Wednesday's performance was a stark warning both to Montreal and the rest of the Liga MX as to just how destructive America can be when those three get it right. Herediano couldn't handle the sharp, direct movement of America's front three, who were fed well by midfielders Osvaldo Martinez and Rubens Sambueza.
"We gave everything in each training session and today you could tell," Benedetto said on television after the match. "The team produced what it had to produce."
The first leg of the final will be on April 22 in the Estadio Azteca and the second in Montreal on April 29. In-between, Club America will have to negotiate a Clasico Nacional against bitter rivals Chivas on April 24 in Guadalajara.
Tigres and Atlas have different fortunes in the Copa Libertadores
Moving over to the Copa Libertadores, Liga MX team Tigres came close to upstaging Club America's fantastic Wednesday night, when it looked to be sending Argentine giant River Plate out the competition.
Tigres sailed to a 2-0 lead, with a goal either side of halftime from Egidio Arevalo and Damian Alvarez. The Monterrey-based team was in control in front of a packed Estadio Universitario and was on the brink of sending a message through South America by defeating River. But a mistake in the 87th from the Tigres defense allowed Teofilo Gutierrez in to pull one back, with Rodrigo Mora netting a fierce volley to equalize three minutes later.
Still, Tigres were already qualified for the knockout stage and are unbeaten so far in their five games. River now needs Tigres to not lose their last game against Juan Aurich in Peru to have any chance of advancing.
Things haven't gone so well in the Libertadores for Mexico's other participant Atlas, who fell 3-1 inside the Estadio Jalisco on Tuesday to Chilean outfit Colo-Colo.
Once again, Atlas' slack defending and failure to take chances against a well-drilled rival was their downfall. Atlas were the better side for large periods of the match, but that counts for little when you can't put the ball in the back of the net.
Atlas lacked composure in a competition that demands it and the crowd inside the Jalisco chanted for coach Tomas Boy to be sacked on the final whistle.
Los Rojinegros now need to win both remaining matches and hope other results fall their way to have any hope of advancing.