Monday, Sep 12, 2022,
New York City Football Club host Atlas F.C. on Wednesday night in the Campeones Cup. We dug deeper into our opponents to learn more about them ahead of the game.
Drawing their name from Greek mythology, Atlas Futbol Club de Guadalajara were founded in 1916.
Their colors are drawn from San Lorenz, the patron saint of Ampleforth College in the United Kingdom. The club’s three founders attended the school together and birthed the now-famous Mexican soccer club upon their return to the country.
The first team from Guadalajara to claim the Copa México in 1946, this would represent a successful period for the club culminating in nine titles, including their first league crown in 1950-1951.
Nicknamed ‘Los Zorros’, for the speed with which their players moved around the field, they also earned the nickname ‘the Academy’ due to their prodigious record with producing talented young Mexican players, including Oswaldo Sanchez, Jared Borgetti, Pavel Pardo, Rafa Marquez, and Andres Guardardo.
The club changed owners in 2019 after being purchased by Grupo Orelgui. This change has ushered in a new dawn for Atlas and saw them break their seven-decade league title drought while also seeing them enter a select group of teams to win both Apertura and the Clausura in the same season.
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Head Coach Diego Cocca returned to Atlas in 2020.
A right-back during his playing days, he spent two years with Atlas during an impressive career that included spells with River Plate, and Argentinos Juniors among others.
After retiring in 2006 Cocca moved into coaching with C.A.I in his homeland. He returned to Liga MX in 2011 to take over Santos Laguna before a somewhat nomadic period saw him coach Huracán, Defensa y Jusitica and Racing Club.
In 2016 he joined Colombian side Millonarios before returning to Racing a year later. Atlas represents his third job in Mexican football after a spell at Tijuana, with his return to the Estadio Jalisco after a season with Rosario Central.
His time in Guadalajara has been defined by significant success – claiming the Apertura in 2021 and the Clausura in 2022.
Unsurprisingly, he won coach of the year and was appointed to lead the Liga MX All Stars against their MLS counterparts earlier this season. He will no doubt be keen to add the Campeones Cup to his growing list of achievements as manager of Atlas as he seeks to end the season on a high.
The Atlas squad contains several names familiar to those watching MLS, including former D.C. United midfielder Edison Flores and one-time Houston Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas.
Elsewhere, Manotas’ compatriot Julián Quiñones offers Atlas another threat in the final third, with the Colombian boasting five goals in 13 games in the Apertura this season.
Goalkeeper Camilo Vargas offers an experienced pair of hands between the sticks. Mexican international Aldo Reyes is a graduate of the club’s academy, and after leaving for Club America in 2018 completed a permeant return this year. He has split time this season between left-back, left-wing, and central midfield.
Midfielder and club captain Aldo Rocha is another name worth noting, but he has struggled with injury since July.
Season So Far
Atlas started the season in modest form with a draw, a loss, and a win in their first three outings.
Since then they have navigated a number of tricky results and currently sit 17th in the Liga MX table.
Cocca’s side have managed one win in nine games and will be keen to finish the season in a strong position with only two league games left. Quiñones leads the team in goals this season, with youngster Ozziel Herrera just behind him on three.
COURTESY NY CITY FC COMMUNICATIONS