Liga MX: It’s time for Diego Lainez to start

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - APRIL 14: Diego Lainez of America reacts during the 15th round match between America and Monterrey as part of the Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on April 14, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - APRIL 14: Diego Lainez of America reacts during the 15th round match between America and Monterrey as part of the Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on April 14, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

The 18-year old has seen spot work in America’s first two Liga MX matches. Piojo needs to incorporate the electric talent into the squad sooner, rather than later, though.

Diego Lainez is near the front of the line of players on the minds of America fans these days. As a much-anticipated prospect last season, he began to see some minutes near the end of the 2018 Clausura. After returning from time with the Mexican U-21s, Lainez has seen 20 minutes in America’s 3-0 blowout of Atlas and went a full 90′ against Veracruz in the Copa MX.

On the surface, it’s easy to look at the minutes and say there is nothing to worry about. Piojo Herrera is simply easing the youngster back after time away from the club. That could very well be what is going on, but something seems off with that hypothesis.

As a key member of the U-21s, it would seem the young Lainez is at full fitness. He’s not returning from injury, so why ease him back? Is the Azteca air too thin for an 18-year-old kid who’s been with the club for some time now? No, it would appear the manager simply does not see Lainez as giving Las Aguilas the best chance to win. He’s wrong.

There are a few advantages to getting Lainez on the pitch

First of all, Lainez would count for minutes towards the new minors rule that Tuca Ferretti hates so much. At 18, all his minutes would count and Club America would be in good shape to avoid any penalty at the end of the Apertura. This is maybe a small benefit, but if we’re talking some kind of “win-share” type statistic, that’s 3 points Lainez has played a key role in acquiring.

On the pitch, the benefits of Lainez are skill, speed, and energy. Watching this Club America squad through two Liga MX matches has left fans wanting something more. Some life and energy to the team that can turn things in the direction of Aguilas momentum. Diego Lainez can provide that energy.

Many of his detractors will point out that Lainez, at times, will try to do too much. He ends up being too quick for himself, so to speak, which throws off his timing. Those are just growing pains. It’s his willingness to try something and his energy to pull off some of the attempts that make him a prime candidate to breath new life into the squad. With more experience against better teams, Lainez will grow into a more consistent and reliable player. It would be unwise to hold him out until he stops being so aggressive. That is what the club needs and he won’t gain that experience unless he’s put into the lineup, however.

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Including Diego Lainez into an America lineup would also provide balance on the pitch from an attacking standpoint. As it stands, the right side of the field gets a lot of wear and tear because that side is occupied by Renato, who is the most consistently dangerous offensive player for America, albeit without many goals to show for it. His play with Mateus Uribe and Roger Martinez provide defenses with a lot to handle. They have been able to slow the attack, however, by shading hard to that side, daring America to win from the left.

Andrés Ibargüen is still a player worth keeping in the lineup, and though some fans talk about replacing him with Lainez, I would disagree. Ibargüen is a high energy, fiery player, that is not afraid to let a shot fly. With a tweak in formation, a combination of Lainez and Ibargüen could be just the shot in the arm that left side of the lineup needs.

Where to put Lainez

My proposal would be to shift from a 4-4-2 to more of 4-1-4-1 formation. The goalkeeper, Agustin Marchesin, would remain the same, as would the back line of Reyes, Alvarez, Valdez, and Aguilar. I would then push the midfielders up, other than Guido Rodriguez, who would play the central defensive midfielder role at which he excels. The 4 other midfielders from left to right would then be Ibargüen, Lainez, Uribe, and Renato. Roger Martinez would be my pick up front.

Ibargüen – Lainez- Uribe – Renato
Reyes – Valdez – Alvarez – Aguilar


This formation would beef up the left side of the attack, allow Lainez to use his aggressiveness and skill with plenty of options for safety valves if need be. He wouldn’t be required to do all the play making, but would still have enough room, with only Roger in front of him, to get forward and make things happen.

The defense remains relatively unaffected, as the only player removed is whoever the 2nd forward would have been between Henry Martin and Oribe Peralta. If anything dropping another player deeper gives the defense more help and might make them better.

Why not put the kid in the lineup?

Ultimately, including Lainez in the starting XI could give America the bite back. They’ve been a little stale from my perspective since the beginning of the calendar year. When Lainez has come on, things open up a little more, because he has the ability to make plays. The mere threat of him stretches out a defense and gives players like Renato and Uribe more room to work.

I want to see Piojo with his pumped up antics on the sidelines and an attacking midfield like the one I suggest above might be enough to add the excitement and offensive threat America needs to bring that out of the coach.

Lainez needs to start. Because what have they got to lose?