Atlante and Saprissa could face off in the knock out stages of the Champions League
When most US based football fans last watched Atlante play it was a disgraceful display of unsporting play and behavior in the Superliga semifinal match against New England. But the Cancun based club has been playing well in the Apertura tournament which began last month and must be considered the favorite in this group. Giancarlo Maldonado is the leading attacking player for Atlante and Federico Vilar who proclaimed the United States a dangerous country will not have to mind net on American soil as Atlante’s rival New England was embarrassed 6-1 on aggregate by Trinidad’s Joe Public FC.
Olimpia FC has to be considered the front runner to finish second in the group although it is admitedly wide open. The club is regular to CONCACAF competitions and is led by Wilmer Velasquez who has a knack for scoring timely goals both in domestic Honduran competitions and in CONCACAF events.
Gregory Richardson scored four goals in two games against New England in the preliminary round. However for Joe Public FC the step up in atmosphere and dare I say class from a poorly supported MLS side like New England to fanatically supported sides like Atlante and Olimpia will be too much for Jack Warner’s boys to overcome. The Joe Public FC that got crushed by DC United 8-0 in the Champions Cup not long ago is more likely to be seen in this competition than the team that had an easy time with an injury plauged, disinterested and cocky New England side. Former T&T international Dale Saunders will have to have a monster tournament for the Port of Spain based side to advance.
Saputo Stadium is a tough venue for many visiting clubs. However it proved to be friendly confines for the Honduras National Team who defeated Canada 2-1 in a recent World Cup qualfier. That is likely a prototype of what will happen in this group to the woefully outgunned and outclased Montreal Impact of the USL-1. Keep an eye on Matt Jordan in goal. He’ll be under constant pressure in this group. Montreal is likely to make little impact (pun not intended but kept in the post nonetheless) in this group. Toronto FC or Vancouver could have been more competitive had they taken care of their own business in the Canadian Championship.
Predicted Order of Finish:
3- Joe Public