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It’s been a while, huh? After a disappointing 2019 year, a couple of moves were made by Grupo Orlegi, looking to fix the issues that plagued Atlas last season. The gave a vote of confidence to Coach Leandro Cufre, and the Argentinian will be the focus of attention in 2020. Orlegi did their offseason job, can Cufre do his own on the field?

How much did Los Rojinegros go to work this December? Week 1 could tell us a bit, as La Academia will open up its 2020 Clausura season with a visit to the Azteca, where they’ll face another struggling side in recent years, Cruz Azul.

2020, new faces

Grupo Orlegi took a different approach for this season, instead of bringing 8, 9 guys that raised some questions, they focused on 4 guys that were needed given the lack of talent or injuries at some spots in the starting lineup. Ignacio Jeraldino was brought from the Chilean league, for a position Atlas has suffered in recent history: a striker. Jeraldino played 4 times for his national side, and previously lead his Audax Italiano team in scoring.

In an operation between brothers, right back Javier Abella changed sides, from Torreon to Guadalajara. (I’ve got no clue what they’ll do with the RB position, as Ismael Govea was the usual starter last season. Govea and Abella will compete for the spot all-season).

The most impactful signing for Atlas surely was Luciano Acosta, the Argentinian creative midfielder was let go free by DC United (earlier in 2019 there were reports about a possible move to PSG). For years, Los Rojinegros have lacked a guy who can create on offense (Osvaldo Martinez faded as the year went on, Ricky Alvarez was always injured, Andres Andrade doesn’t count as a professional player) and are hoping Acosta can be that guy.

Finally, they brought a central defender, as Anderson Santamaria suffered a significant injury and will miss some time. Atlas negotiated with Benfica and the Portuguese side agreed to loan German Conti to the Mexican side. Good things are heard from the Argentinian defender, as he’ll play alongside captain Martin Nervo at the back.

Cufre and the season opener

The most important issue of last season was related to Leandro Cufre, as media and fans pointed at the fact that Atlas didn’t have a clue about what they were doing on the pitch, as if they were playing without a system. As a player, Cufre was a very passionate defender, who gave his all in every play. Being a player or coach with “huevos” won’t be enough here for Atlas. The Clausura 2020 will be a test for the Argentinian coach, how much has he improved as a strategist? Things could get ugly if the team does not perform well (results aside).

Talking about this week’s opponent, Cruz Azul hasn’t had much luck in terms of health, as injuries plagued their offseason, and they’re looking at the transfer market to reinforce some positions at the last minute. Just to start, they won’t count this Saturday with Sebastian Jurado, Adrian Aldrete, Milton Caraglio, Yoshimar Yotun, and Igor Lichnovsky. If there’s a time to strike La Maquina and hope for a win at the Azteca, it’s now.

Recent history

Los Rojinegros have only won once in their last 5 visits to Mexico City facing Cruz Azul.

Apertura 2018 — Cruz Azul 2-0 Atlas

Apertura 2017 — Cruz Azul 2-1 Atlas

Clausura 2017 — Cruz Azul 0-1 Atlas

Apertura 2015 — Cruz Azul 1-1 Atlas

Clausura 2015 — Cruz Azul 1-1 Atlas

Overall La Maquina has won 4 of their last 5 encounters with La Academia.

Apertura 2019 — Atlas 1-3 Cruz Azul

Clausura 2019 — Atlas 0-2 Cruz Azul

Apertura 2018 — Cruz Azul 2-0 Atlas

Clausura 2018 — Atlas 2-1 Cruz Azul

Apertura 2017 — Cruz Azul 2-1 Atlas

Match info / Streaming

Clausura 2020

Venue: Azteca Stadium

Time: 17:00 Mexico City time

Streaming: TUDN

 

 

 

 

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