Atlas fans, you don’t deserve this.
The fan base that just can’t seem to catch a break suffered through a heartbreaker for the ages once again last night in their opener against Queretaro. I may not support Atlas but that didn’t stop me or many others from cheering them on in the second half, where they had seized total control of the game and looked certain to score. But of course, the goal never came. There were 3 shots off the post, a penalty saved by Tiago Volpi, and a 92nd minute winner that was called back due to an offensive foul, but no actual goals for Los Zorros.
I feel your pain, Atlas fans. I’ve seen this team go through this so many times in recent years, and it just seems like no matter how well they play, they are destined to fail sometimes. Last night was a very Atlas performance. But don’t get too negative, because the future for this team is bright. They did dominate this game after all. Maybe they were unlucky to have not scored, but the fact is that Clifford Aboagye is back and looked fantastic, and his new partner in the midfield Juan Pablo Vigón did great aside from missing his penalty.
Defensively they were very sound, conceding not even a single shot on goal. This defense looked comfortable dealing with Camilo Sanvezzo, who many people forget has been quietly terrorizing Liga MX defenses for four years now. Tiago Volpi played a fantastic game for Los Gallos, and its very possible that with any other keeper out there Atlas could have won this game.
Now they are far from perfect, of course. One of the problems with this team is that they have such a creative midfield, but nobody to finish the job and score goals. If they can’t find a consistent scorer, they may just have a couple repeats of what happened last night throughout the season. Octavio Rivero is expected to become the guy for them this year, but that’s a tall order for a player who was a good but not outstanding forward in Chile and MLS.
So yes, this result stings for Atlas because it immediately killed off the hype of the new season and sent out a cruel reminder of how things have gone in recent tournaments. But if you look at how they actually played, I think this was a lot better than what people expected from them. If they can play like this week in and week out, they’ll find themselves in a fine position down the road.