Liga MX: Atlas can end Leon’s Liguilla hopes

during a 14th round match between Leon and Puebla as part of Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Leon, Mexico.
during a 14th round match between Leon and Puebla as part of Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Leon, Mexico. /

Atlas is out of Liguilla contention, but would certainly enjoy helping Leon to join the ranks of the eliminated.

You’d excuse Atlas if they wanted to just pack it all up and focus solely on getting healthy and built-up for the 2019 Liga MX Clausura at this point. A historically bad score-less run to start the year, fueled by a significant amount of poor luck, has them second to last in the table with just nine points, four points behind 16th place Necaxa. Leon has been up and down, with five wins, including wins against Club America and Toluca, and eight losses. A loss wouldn’t mathematically eliminate them from contention, but it would get them extremely close. Atlas is playing better now, however, so survival won’t come easy.

Last match

León: L v Puebla 4-0

Coming into Jornada 15, Puebla had 20 goals on the year. 20% of those goals came in their Jornada 14 match with Leon. Leon entered the match having won two of their last three Liga MX matches, Puebla hadn’t won since September 15. It only took nine minutes for Christian Tabo to throw all that out the window, putting Puebla up 1-0. In the 33rd minute, he’d add a second goal. Tabo would leave the pitch in minute 54, and then his replacement, Felix Micolta, would push the Puebla lead to three in the 67th. Francisco Acuna rounded out the scoring at the end of the match, but the story was Leon’s horrendous defense. Puebla took 10 total shots, eight of them on-target, with just 35% possession.

Atlas: D @ Necaxa 2-2

Atlas had a great chance at their first road win of the Apertura traveling to Necaxa. Jefferson Duque opened the scoring in the 25th minute, but Luis Perez and Brian Fernandez scored in the 61st and 70th minutes to give Necaxa the lead. With three minutes to go before stoppage time, Duque found the back of the net again, and Atlas were able to at least come away with a point and a tiny unbeaten streak of two matches.

Possible line-ups

León: 4-2-3-1

Mireles – Mosquera – Tesillo – Rodriguez
Mejia – Aquino
Meneses – Montes – Moreno

After a couple solid performances in net, William Yarbrough fell apart against Puebla. His defense in front of him didn’t help much, but it’s hard to imagine him in net this week. Coach Espinoza can’t change everyone in the starting eleven, it wouldn’t help. He can, however, change the tactics and avoid getting caught to far ahead and bolster his defense against counter-attacks.

Atlas: 4-1-4-1

Govea – González – Jiménez – Olvera
Álvarez – Vigón – Aboagye – Andrade

Atlas used a 4-1-4-1 in their win against Veracruz and it should provide structure in defense and enough “oomph” in attack again this week against Leon. Juan Vigon has done well in attacking midfield the last few matches and helps give Atlas a better spine down the middle of the pitch.

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Key players

León: Mauro Boselli

Though he’s tied with Luis Montes for the team lead in goals with five, Boselli seems to be the main driver of the Leon offense.

Atlas: Jefferson Duque

Duque has scored in both Atlas’ wins this season, and leads the team in goals. It feels a bit too easy to pick the striker as the key player, but when you have just 10 goals total as a team, goalscorers are even more important.


Clearly one week isn’t indicative of what will happen the next week in Liga MX. The Puebla loss would seem to be absolutely devastating, however. Atlas had nothing to lose a long time ago, and are playing stress-free football. I think that will carry them to a win, sending Leon’s Liguilla hopes further into despair.

Atlas 2 – Leon 1