First Division – PRODE-85. The second championship of the year. Truncated one and shorter too, played under slightly different formula. No relegation and instead of playing against all league members, in the first phase the teams played only against the members of the same group. After that it was the same – ¼ finals, ½ finals and final.
1. Tampico-Madero 10 points after 8 games.
2. Atletico Morelia 8 Qualifed on better goal-difference
3. Toluca 8
4. UNAM 7
5. Leon 7
1. Puebla 13
2. Universidad de Guadalajara 10
3. Deportivo Neza 7
4. Atlas 5
5. Monterrey 5
1. Atlante 11
2. Cruz Azul 11
5. Atletico Potosino 4
1. America 12
2. CD Guadalajara 10
3. Angeles (Puebla) 9
4. Irapuato 4 promoted from the 1984-85 championship
5. UANL 4 Perhaps the only memorable thing of their performance was the Hamburger SV jersey their goalkeeper used.
It looks like that many clubs miscalculated the length season and were in good condition too early. Others either prepared better, coming to full strength around mid-year, or put extra efforts to overcome weaker 1984-85 season. However, the usual arguments should be taken with a grain of salt: the needs of the national team preparing for the World Cup perhaps affected negatively teams having key figures of the national team. Looked like teams where foreigners were the stars played better in PRODE-85. All to the point, of course.
Cruz Azul lost to Tampico-Madero: 1-2 and 1-2.
Atletico Morelia was eliminated by Atlante: 1-2 and 0-3.
CD Guadalajara lost to Puebla: 0-0 and 0-1.
Universidad de Guadalajara lost to America: 0-2 and 1-1.
Puebla lost to Tampico-Madero 2-4 and 2-1.
Atlante was eliminated by America 2-2 and 1-3.
America was driving in full speed already, but Tampico-Madero vastly improved after their mediocre 1984-85 season. They won their home leg 4-1 and appeared to be on the road to a title. But America came back in the second leg with a vengeance: 4-0.
America (Mexico City) was simply the best squad in 1985 and won 2 titles. This made their total number of titles 6 and 3 of them were won in succession. Still, America lagged behind CD Guadalajara which did not win any title after 1970.
This great period in the history of America was made by relatively young, but talented and experienced squad and similarly gifted coach. The Argentine Miguel Lopez (born 1942) was part of the superb team of Independiente between 1971 and 1975. He retired in 1976 and immediately took coaching: in 1979 he coached Maradona in the rapid climb to the top of Argentine football of Argentinos Juniors and before coming to America coached Boca Juniors and Colombian teams. Now, with handful of talent at hand, he conquered Mexico. Seven players of this team appeared at the 1986 World Cup for Mexico, the brightest of them perhaps was the center-forward Carlos Hermosillo, 21 years old. Local talent was helped by foreigners, as usual: the Argentine goalkeeper Hector Zelada, one of the oldest players in the squad at 28, the Uruguayan defender Luis Acosta, 26, and the driving force of the team – the controversial midfielder Daniel Brailovsky.
27 years old Brailovsky was at its peak and is remembered fondly by America fans. Usually he is credited as instrumental for the 2 titles in 1985. His nationality? Depends…he was born in Buenos Aires.
Luis Acosta and Daniel Brailovsky with their mate in hand. The national drink of both Uruguay and Argentina was more the players had in common. Brailovsky started his career in Penarol (Montevideo) in 1976 and only 20 years old he was champion of Uruguay with the famous club. His talent was quickly noticed and he played for the Under-20 national team of Uruguay. Then crossed La Plata again and played in his home town, Buenos Aires. Again, he impressed and was invited to the national team of Argentina. He was part of the initial large selection of Menotti for the 1982 World Cup, but did not make the final 22-men squad. For whatever reasons, Brailovsky never played official match for Argentina – he appeared only in unofficial games. Mexico was his next stop and dazzled America fans, but… the great earthquake in 1985 frightened his wife and she urged him to leave. And without even notifying America, he left shortly after winning PRODE-85. The club charged him with breach of contract and he got 1 year suspension, approved by FIFA. Which probably made him go to Israel and joining Maccabi (Haifa). For them he played to the rather early end of his career in 1988, obtaining Israeli citizenship as well and finally playing for a national team: between 1986 and 1988, he played 18 games for Israel, scoring 3 goals. So, he was Argentine, Uruguayan, again Argentine, and finally Israeli… and was a member of national teams of three countries. Later, he said that of all countries he lived, he felt at home only in Israel and since this is his latest and actual citizenship, today’s statisticians list him as Israeli. But he was Argentine when he played for America and one may only wonder what could have been if Menotti at least tried him in official match or there was no grand earthquake in Mexico in 1985… he left his club at top form of both the team and himself. America was on great run, already winning three consecutive titles. And that was that… it was no joke your best player leaving abruptly at such point. America’s flight was cut short… and also Brailovsky’s career was cut short – after all, moving to Israel, to the backwaters of football at the time, was desperate move, not some achievement and forward moving. Well, Brailovsky may be both praised and cursed in one breath by America’s fans, but perhaps his departure was not the most important reason for the end of success: may be more important reason was having too many national team players. Too many for the good of the club, but they were not the biggest stars of Mexico at the time: Sanchez, Boy, Negrete played for other clubs. Hermosillo was not prime star yet – only dazzlingly talented youngster with little experience.