It was the third win for an MLS club in the competition’s four editions, with Atlanta United defeating Club America in 2019 and the Columbus Crew emerging victorious over Cruz Azul in 2021. Toronto FC lost to Tigres UANL in 2018.
NYCFC got off to a rousing start, taking a 1-0 lead inside the opening five minutes with defender Alexander Callens slamming into the open net at the back post after Nico Acevedo beat Atlas goalkeeper Camilo Vargas to Gabriel Pereira's free kick.
Luis Barraza, starting in place of Sean Johnson, was forced to make a big save just before halftime, diving to his right to parry away Julian Quinones’ shot following a turnover by Tayvon Gray. Barraza made sure the lead held up with another diving save to deny Quinones in the 53rd minute.
Both teams entered the match looking to reverse course after a poor run of form following glorious campaigns a year ago. NYCFC, MLS Cup 2021 winners, have won just one in their last 10 regular-season matches and are winless in their last five.
Atlas clinched their berth by winning both the Apertura and Clausura seasons in Liga MX to be named Campeón de Campeones. But they’ve struggled this campaign, winning just twice in 15 league fixtures, sitting ahead of just Queretaro at the foot of the Liga MX table.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Perhaps all NYCFC needed to break out of their slump was the Campeones Cup. The reigning MLS Cup champions, who lifted their second trophy in club history, had struggled mightily in league play heading into Wednesday’s showdown. Could this be the lifting-off point for the stretch drive of the regular season and Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs? We’ll find out Saturday when NYCFC host the New York Red Bulls in a critical derby encounter (1 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: In any Cup final, the biggest moment is always the trophy lift, and that was the case Wednesday night as NYCFC seemed to erase weeks of frustration from the podium.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Luis Barraza doesn’t get many opportunities to showcase his skills, but under the bright lights of the Campeones Cup, the goalkeeper was superb. He made seven saves, including three highlight-reel denials of Julian Quinones to secure the title.
- NYC: Saturday, Sept. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls | 1:00 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+) | MLS
- ATL: Saturday, Sept. 17 at Monterrey | 8:05 pm ET | Liga MX