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Points shared as America squander 2-goal lead to Atlas

The Aguilas defense fell asleep and allowed the Rojinegros to get back into the game.

Atlas v America - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Club America allowed Atlas to make their way back into the game in the second half. The defense fell apart and in doing so, let all three points escape in a 2-2 draw. While they are the only team in the league to remain undefeated, this draw feels more like a loss considering their good performance in the first half. Either way, America will have to put the game behind them as they host reigning champs Pachuca while Atlas travels to the border to play Tijuana.

America had the first chance of the night as Henry Martin attempted to get his head on the end of a cross in the box, but was unable to. A minute later, Leo Suarez attempted a shot, but Carlos Vargas was able to block it, going out for a corner which ended up leading to nothing thanks to the Atlas defense. Atlas had their chance in the fifth minute, but the ball was blocked by Salvador Reyes who touched it last for a corner kick that ultimately did not happen as the referee mistakenly gave the ball back to the Aguilas. The Rojinegros had another chance in the 10th minute when Julio Furch took a shot at goal that Oscar Jimenez was able to block. The next twenty minutes were spent with America attempting to break down the Atlas defense, but they were unable to find spaces even though there were multiple chances to score. It wasn't until after 30 minutes of play that the visitors found that space and opened the scoring thanks to a goal by Jonathan ‘Cabecita’ Rodriguez.

From there, Atlas found themselves chasing down a goal to equalize and while they had chances to do so, they could not break down the Aguilas defense. To add to that, minutes later the home team found themselves down two goals, this time thanks to Henry Martin. This goal in the 40th minute was goal number 10 for Martin in nine games who has found himself in exceptional form this season. It was in part due to a great through ball from Richard Sanchez.

Down two goals was not the way Atlas wanted to finish out the first half. It was going to be a difficult task to comeback from a two-goal deficit in the second half, but thankfully they didn't have to do that as the Rojinegros were able to score a goal in stoppage time.

Atlas were awarded a free kick two minutes into stoppage time and Brian Lozano stepped up to take it. He sent the ball straight to goal where Oscar Jimenez had no chance of stopping it. It wasn’t the prettiest half for the home team, but that goal allowed them to go into the break a bit more relaxed.

Atlas had a chance at the beginning of the second half to equalize the game after Miguel Layun lost the ball and Brian Lozano took the shot, but he was declared offside. A few minutes after this, Henry Martin had another chance to score after Leo Suarez sent a cross into the box, but instead of taking the shot immediately, Martin attempted to control the ball, thus giving Atlas the chance to clear the ball, which they did. For the next 15 minutes, the sides went back and forth with opportunities that couldn’t materialize. That was until the 68th minute when the home team finally found the equalizer.

Brian Lozano once again showed up when his team needed him the most. He had the ball and when he realized no one from America was stopping him, he went for the long distance shot and it zipped past Oscar Jimenez for the equalizer. The Aguilas defense had fallen asleep as not one player attempted to make their way to Lozano who’s shot was superb considering the distance and power behind it. While there were still 20 minutes left in the game, America did not look the same as they did in the beginning. They had multiple chances to regain the lead, but could not finish them. Atlas couldn’t finish their chances either which was a big sigh of relief for the Aguilas, seeing as they were finally heading in the right direction this season. America had one final chance to win the game when in the sixth minute of stoppage time, they were awarded a free kick. Layun executed, but it lead to nothing as the ball ended back in the hands of goalkeeper Carlos Vargas and the final whistle was blown.

This draw was not the result America wanted nor needed, but it is important for Atlas who’ve had a disappointing season thus far. In their last three games (three consecutive losses), the Rojinegros had failed to score a goal in any of them, but were able to score two last night as they prepare to face Tijuana next week. America has a tough job next week as they prepare to host Pachuca who have had a few bumps in the road, but are still in the hunt for the bicampeonato.