The Five Stripes pulled off a minor upset of the Liga MX giant to hand MLS a title in direct competition against Mexico
Major League Soccer claimed a small measure of success over Liga MX on Wednesday as Atlanta United took a 3-2 win over Club American in the second edition of the Campeones Cup.
The match pits the MLS Cup champion against Liga MX’s Campeon de Campeones.
The first edition in 2018 saw Tigres cruise past Toronto FC, but Liga MX’s dominance of continental competitions has, at least temporarily, been halted.
The second edition of the competition got off to a flying start, with Emerson Hyndman pushing Atlanta into the lead five minutes in.
America responded quickly, with Renato Ibarra first hitting the frame of goal and then pulling his side level in the 13th minute.
While the match continued at a frantic pace throughout the first half, the two sides would remain level until the 57th minute when Roger Martínez scored to pull the Mexican outfit out in front.
This time it was Atlanta’s turn to respond quickly, and a blast from Jeff Larentowicz had the home side back level before the hour mark.
Josef Martinez, who had netted 15 times in his last 10 MLS matches coming into the night, scored from the penalty spot six minutes later to push Atlanta back in front.
America’s hopes for another comeback took a massive hit 72 minutes in when Bruno Valdez picked up a second booking and the Liga MX giant was left to finish the match with 10 men.
“Real excited to have won another trophy here in Atlanta,” Julian Gressel said on social media after the match.
“First MLS Champion for the Campeones Cup. Thanks for all the support, I only heard Atlanta fans today, so that was unbelievable. This one’s for you guys!”
Atlanta currently sits second in the MLS Eastern Conference, three points back of the Philadelphia Union with a game in hand.
The Five Stripes will return to league action on Sunday as they travel to Portland to take on the Timbers, but the club can add another trophy to the case at the end of the month when they face Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup final.