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Club America Vs. Atlante, Apertura 2011: Preview

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After having the week off to make way for the FIFA international break, Mexican football returns this weekend with several interesting matches, including the return of Atlante to Estadio Azteca to face Club America. For many years, Atlante called Estadio Azteca their home, playing there for many seasons. After their move to Cancun in 2007, Atlante left many fans behind in Mexico City. Since their 2007 departure, Atlante has returned to the Azteca Stadium four times, earning two wins, a tie, and only one loss.

Atlante comes into this match following a win at home over Estudiantes Tecos, a 2-1 victory at Estadio Quintana Roo. The overall season, though, has not been so great for Atlante. The victory over Estudiantes was just the second win of the season, and both wins have come at home. Atlante has not had near the same luck outside of Cancun, losing all three of their road matches. Atlante's record is a disappointing two wins and five losses, giving them only six points and putting them in 16th place of the league table. Even though Atlante’s record is nothing to show off, the team's play has actually been decent this season. As coach Miguel Herrera stated “We have been playing how we want, but don’t have the points we wanted at this point.”  

Earlier this week Club America released a slightly controversial promo commercial showing an America player on a merry-go-round riding a small horse. This obviously referring to America’s dominance over Atlante (Los Potros), ending the commercial with their now famous catchphrase “America grande, muy grande”. Though America is considered one of the “big teams” in the Mexican league, this season has not been the best for the Azulcremas. America has been the target of much criticism on and off the field. America coach, Carlos Reinoso, has not seemed to be able to find the right formula to make this America team move forward. America sits in 12th place, with only eight points out of 18 possible (America still has one match to play vs. San Luis from Week 4). America is coming off a very disappointing loss against Pachuca, where two goals from Felix Borja gave America their second loss of the season.

Both Atlante and America need the win, not only to secure three points, but to also secure the continuance of their head coaches. A loss from any of the two teams might send their current managers packing. The Mexican league is practically halfway through the season, and if America or Atlante want to reach the liguilla, right now is the time to push for a good result. The return of Atlante to Estadio Azteca adds to the intensity of this match, though America will be the locals -- but don’t be surprised if Atlante fans make their presence felt in El Coloso de Santa Ursula.

America vs. Atlante kicks off Sunday at 5:00 pm EST (2:00 pm PST), and the match can be seen live in the United States on Univision.