Atlanta has Swag, plenty of it. Club America should not be overlooked, however.
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Tonight is the night of the Campeones Cup Final in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta will be taking on the Mexican Champions from last year, Club America. Many pundits are suggesting that Club America is not looking forward to a match up with the in-form 5 Stripes. It doesn’t seem like Atlanta should be too overconfident given some of the talents that Club America possesses. Striker Roger Martinez has plenty of experience for both the Colombian National Team, as well as European clubs like Villarreal.
Atlanta has been on quite a streak lately with only one loss in their last 6 games. Club America has not lost any fixtures in its last six, so it’s safe to say their form is looking quite good as well. Paul Aguilar, the Captain of the squad is extremely well versed in International Footballer; he has 56 appearances for the Mexican National Team. Liga MX has very similar statistics collectively when measured up against the MLS. Both of the leagues have about the same goals per game average, with the MLS at 2.75, and Liga MX at 3.
Giovanni Dos Santos is a well-versed member of El Tri’s Forwards. He also has plenty of European experience having played for the English Club Tottenham Hot-spur, as well as Spanish Club Villarreal, and the perennial powerhouse Barcelona F.C. It is also safe to say that most will not be intimidated by the hostile crowd that always shows up at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Club America’s home soil is the notorious El Azteca, which capacity is set at 87,000. However, the venue has hosted well over 100,000 screaming fans on more than one occasion. It is considered to be one of the hardest places to play in the world.
Atlanta has been playing at such a blistering and perfection-seeking form lately that it is hard to imagine a win is not in any way an absurd prospect. With wins and praise comes confidence, which sometimes breeds boldness. United have swag. Every time they step on the pitch they look brilliant. The key to winning tonight will be keeping the experienced Club America off of the ball. Similar to the way that Atlanta played NYCFC, holding the ball and executing 500+ passes, while not giving away possession will be paramount.
All eyes will be on the spectacular Josef Martinez who has been so dynamic and fluid after his injury, he will be hard to stop. The question is also still begging if he is 100%? That remains to be seen. Only when he steps on the pitch tonight will we know what kind of pain he is still dealing with about his injury. Gressel will also be a very important piece of the win. The German can always be counted on for his trademark crosses, and deceptive speed. Miles Robinson will also need to hold that back line with the same tenacity he always does.
There were a few times against NYCFC where the United was fooled or outpaced, and NYCFC got behind. Club America has plenty of speed in their front line and mid-field. That coupled with the experience of the Mexican team will surely prove to be an outstanding match. Atlanta does have one thing the traveling squad does not, a whole city behind them. The anticipation in the city is palpable, and there are no better fans in the MLS than Atlanta United Fans. With everyone in the city behind them, Atlanta need only play their brand of football. If that is what shows up tonight there is no doubt another cup will be added to the collection.