It wasn’t unexpected, but it was sudden. After a fifth consecutive loss, Atlas dismissed manager Ángel Guillermo Hoyos this morning. Hoyos becomes the seventh manager fired during the Clausura, joining Pako Ayesterán, David Patiño, Enrique Meza, Rafael Puente, Jr., Roberto Hernández, and Hernán Cristante on the list of unemployed managers.
To be clear, while Hoyos’ dismissal was warranted, Atlas didn’t exactly put him into a position to succeed. No manager has yet been announced to replace Hoyos, and it’s difficult to see who would be able to come in and be immediately successful. Atlas is the team that didn’t score a goal until Week 8 in the 2018 Apertura and didn’t exactly address this need during the (albeit brief) off-season. The only true forward Atlas brought in was Uruguayan Facundo Barceló, whose two goals in seven appearances suggests that he hasn’t adjusted to Liga MX play yet. Jefferson Duque, Atlas’ other forward with significant minutes, has no goals in six appearances.
The players that have been producing goals have been midfielders Jesús Isijara and Osvaldo Martínez, both of whom Atlas picked up from Santos Laguna during the off-season. But expecting the midfield to carry the goal-scoring load is hardly a sustainable path to success. Atlas will need to bring in a striker to help contribute during the off-season when the transfer window opens back up, and the new manager must make sure that they aren’t getting someone who is slow to adjust like Barceló has been so far.
Atlas’ defense has also been abysmal, allowing 18 goals in the 10 games they’ve played thus far. This is only one less than Querétaro, who at the time of this writing has given up the most goals in Liga MX. Like the forwards, the defenders Atlas got over the break haven’t performed. On loan from Watford, Jorge Segura has played 135 total minutes. Anderson Santamaria was acquired form Puebla and has been fairly solid next to Omar González, but left back Irving Zurita has had some particularly poor performances,
With Veracruz being relegated (a situation like last season with Lobos BUAP not withstanding), Atlas will be sitting in the relegation zone along with Querétaro, Guadalajara, and Puebla. They’re in a precarious spot, and any manager coming in must be aware of this as well. The new hire simply must be able to get more out of this team, or face the same consequences as Hoyos - or Veracruz.