ATLANTA — With only hours remaining until the reigning champions of Liga MX and MLS meet at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to compete for the Campeones Cup trophy, a historically dominant Club América side admit that Atlanta United’s quality will provide a stern test (8 pm ET | TV: ESPN2, Univision, TUDN, TSN 1/4).
Club América have established themselves as a dominant force in Liga MX since manager Miguel Herrera’s second tenure with the club began in 2017. The team improved slowly but surely and finally started lifting trophies in 2018 when Las Aguilas won Liga MX’s Apertura. Herrera’s team then won the Campeon de Campeones clash against Tigres UANL earlier this summer to qualify for Wednesday’s final.
But Herrera brushed away any talk of personal glory in his pre-match press conference Tuesday, instead crediting his players and keeping the focus on the difficulties ATLUTD present his team.
“They understand the coach's idea of playing and they play attacking football,” Herrera said through a translator. “Obviously they have a great attack with [Pity] Martinez, [Ezequiel] Barco and Josef [Martinez]. It's not going to be an easy game. It's going to be difficult, but we're confident we can play them head-to-head and come out on top.”
If anyone on America’s side understands the dangers that Atlanta can pose, it’s new signing Giovani dos Santos. The attacking midfielder faced Atlanta United twice while playing for the LA Galaxy, losing 4-0 at MBS in 2017 and 2-0 in California in 2018.
“MLS has grown a lot over the past few years,” dos Santos said Tuesday through a translator. “Atlanta has a great team that has had a couple solid seasons. They're extremely dynamic, they're an extremely good team and we'll have to do our best tomorrow to win.”
Those sentiments were echoed across the table as Herrera sat alongside dos Santos and center back Bruno Valdez.
“It's going to be a difficult game. Obviously the modern game is very tactical and very physical. The field here is very big, so we're going to have to run a lot and it's going to be a physical game in that sense,” Valdez said through a translator at Tuesday’s press conference.
“Both teams can obviously play well and play attractive football. They're both the current champions, so we can expect a great show and a great match.”