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Ventura Alvarado and Club America fall in Club World Cup to Real Madrid

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The big stage.

Mexico v United States Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

Club America dropped a 2-0 decision to Real Madrid in the semifinals of the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup at Japan’s International Stadium Yokohama. Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored to advance their club to Sunday’s final against Kashima Antlers. Club America plays Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the preceding third-place match.

U.S. national team defender Ventura Alvarado started at right back and was replaced in the 54th minute by Jose Guerrero.

Alvarado is nearing the end of his long tenure with America, as he’s set to join Santos Laguna next month. After barely playing for most of 2016, he’s seen a rapid increase in playing time over the last month.

The 24-year old Arizona native started three matches in his club’s run to the final of the Liguilla Apertura. America faces UANL in a two leg series on December 22nd and 25th. After those matches, he’s off to Santos Laguna.

His future manager, Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre is excited for him to join the club.

"I think that Ventura has great skills," De la Torre told ESPN FC. "He has good height, is good with marking, fast and good in the aerial game. Above all, he has a great mentality. All the Mexican-Americans who have come to Mexico are usually mentally sharp. They're serious footballers with a strong mentality. They're players that are always helpful for their teams."

A change at the club level could also lead to increased stature with the national team. Alvarado has earned 13 caps since his debut in 2015, but isn’t considered a first-choice option. With a new manager (Bruce Arena) and some increased playing time, he could become a regular call up.