Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera has seen a lot of success with Club América in his time as manager. However, there is one Achilles heel for him – MLS opposition. In the CONCACAF Champions League, Herrera’s Club América was booted in 2018 by Toronto FC. A year later, in the Leagues Cup, Club Amércia barely escaped Houston in penalties, and shortly after, they lost to Atlanta United in the Campeones Cup.
Granted, not all those losses will cause Herrera and América to lose sleep, but they do have a chance at some redemption come March 11 in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Atlanta United will be no pushover, especially with the recent laundry list of injuries Club América has accumulated this season. Atlanta, however, has a significant loss of its own with Josef Martínez out with an ACL tear. It is a massive hit for the MLS side, but América shouldn’t come in thinking that they have the series wrapped up with Atlanta’s target man out.
In August 2019, Club América took on Atlanta United in the Campeones Cup (a one-off game between league champions), the cups second edition. Atlanta United came in guns blazing, and a lazy América was left empty-handed in a 3-2 final.
Despite success in Liga MX, ‘Piojo’ Herrera has been bested by two MLS sides in recent years. This upcoming clash with Atlanta United really might be ‘Piojo’ Herrera’s “white whale.” He gets a chance in less than two weeks to send out an América team who will be facing a lot of talent in Atlanta. They have a healthy mix of youth and experience with players like Brad Guzan, Ezequiel Barco, Emerson Hyndman, and Gonzalo Martínez.
Both fans and management will be crossing their fingers that they can have some players return from injury in time to face Atlanta United. It will be Club América, who hosts Atlanta United first – so a positive result will be needed before the second leg in front of one of the best fan bases in MLS.
Mexico has had quite the dominant record in the CONCACAF Champions League. However, MLS sides have knocked out Liga MX teams in recent years – despite regularly falling to a Mexican club later on. Club América, being the most successful club in the tournament, will want to continue their success, and ‘Piojo’ will need to take this opportunity against Atlanta United to exercise his MLS demons.