Update: Pumas scored a last minute own-goal, which left the game tied 1-1. View the latest Liga MX standings here.
The Moment has arrived for the renewed Liga MX to start a new chapter, and with it Pumas will style a new uniform, a new coach and new elements in their offense to show why they are one of the big teams in the league. Pumas and Atlas will face-off on July 21st at Estadio Jalisco, and hope to start off the Liga MX with three points.
Pumas has finished a pre-season filled with goods and bads, but for Del Olmo, who took command of the squad merely a month and a half ago, the matches were to assemble a team that will represent balance between experience and youth. A lot of experimentation and analysis that represents pressure as well for the ownership, which made the effort to bring players of name (and cost).
Pumas comes from a past season filled with mixed emotions, where they had no player acquisitions and they abided by the policy of using only elements of their youth team; they displayed a balanced game, yet they did not deliver scores.
Now Pumas will be under the eye of critics and followers, as they were one of the teams in the Liga MX that acquired players and invested heavily to obtain at least a pass to the playoffs in the Liga MX. Pumas will also be expected to have a decent run in the Copa MX.
The only option for Pumas is for Del Olmo to get to work in both tournaments and establish a signature of his own, something which he did not show with Xolos nor Veracruz. He now knows that being in a team like Pumas is the time to show what he is capable of as a coach.
On the other hand, Atlas, with a couple of new strikers and a roster similar to past season’s, will be looking to get off the last places in the percentage table that puts them on Ascenso MX (ascending League).
Last season Atlas was saved from going to the Ascenso MX due to the help in results from other teams sending Tecos out of Mexico’s prestigious first division.
With a reduced squad and not-so-big budget, Atlas will struggle as they face off their matches in both Liga MX and Copa MX. Juan Carlos Chavez, coach of the team, has in his hands the future of a team that has not won a championship in more than 50 years.
Atlas is usually one of those teams that starts off with good results but then fades away as the league progresses. Far away is the system that Marcelo Bielsa once established for the formation of their youth teams, as lately no great home-grown players have shined.