All it took was the first third of the season for this powerful team to show what they’re capable of and the fact they’re still relevant, as most already knew. And true, they’ve done it against a couple of big relegation candidates in Querétaro and Mazatlán. But still, you gotta win the games you gotta win, right? Not only did they do that, but they defeated both squads in a cakewalk, both by a 3-0 final.
They obviously had their critics questioning whether they would compete this season and whether or not they’d be contenders after only one win in the first four matches, and how Tuca’s departure was being noticed. Not that a Ferretti departure would be expected to go unnoticed, but that’s different than the team still remaining a huge threat to win the title. Well, those questions have shifted quickly since their two straight victories obtained last week.
Now, strongly positioned in 3rd overall, Herrera and his boys will look to win their third in a row when they host a surprising Atlas squad who find themselves 7th overall, having only lost one game thus far. More surprisingly, they’re tied as league-leaders in defense, having only allowed 2 goals to date. In all fairness, that doesn’t mean a whole lot, as Querétaro came in to the Universitario last week in the same great defensive predicament and walked out having received 3 goals, lucky not to have allowed more. But it does speak to Atlas having maintained a certain defensive standard through this first month of the season.
Furthermore, the remarkable yet not surprising explosion Nico López has had to this point supports the argument that the goals allowed mean nothing when facing this extremely dangerous offensive squad. ‘El Diente’ has had the impact we all expected to see a year ago, which never came to fruition due to Tuca’s strange ways with some players. But now, in a more offensive scheme with a coach who wouldn’t dare sacrifice the offensive talent on his roster, López could hardly find himself in a better situation. He’s now tallied 5 goals, good for the league-lead in that category, and not to mention, his two assists as well. It couldn’t have come at a better time with Gignac and others out due to injuries.
And they’ll need a lot more of Nico López, considering Gignac and Pizarro aren’t the only ones out, but with them, Leo Fernández, Rafa Carioca, Juan Pablo Vigón, and Chaka Rodríguez as well. Therefore, they’ll need the Uruguayan to continue to come up big at least one more week if they wish to continue the winning streak. The last time Atlas took all 3 points in San Nicolás de los Garza was all the way back in January 2015, so this matchup isn’t one that particularly favors the black and red. But in front of them, Herrera and company have a rugged rival in Diego Cocca’s Atlas, who oh by the way, now have Colombian striker Julián Quiñones in their ranks who’s looking to prove Tigres wrong on letting him go. With all of that being said, Tigres should still pull away with the three points tomorrow night.