The reigning champion of Liga MX meets the current last-place team, with each coming off midweek struggles.
Atlas has won just once this season and now heads north to face Tigres in El Volcan after earning a point at home against Necaxa.
Tigres also are coming off a draw, slumping to a scoreless draw against Lobos BUAP — the team sitting just a point above Atlas in second-to-last place.
They have just three wins so far this tournament between them, with both expecting more from the Clausura. Will one be able to nab all three points and gather momentum ahead of the stretch run?
|Game||Tigres vs. Atlas|
|Date||Saturday, February 17|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Stream (U.S. only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
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SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Guzman, Fernandez, Ortega|
|Defenders||Kolodziejczak, Ayala, Juninho, Meza, Torres Nilo, Acosta, Jimenez, Estrada, Rodriguez|
|Midfielders||Carioca, Duenas, J. Torres, Vasquez, R. Torres, Zelarayan, Aquino, Alvarez, Sosa, Damm|
|Forwards||Valencia, Gignac, Vargas|
With Javier Aquino still out with an injury and Rafael Carioca suspended after being sent off in Tuesday's match with Lobos BUAP, manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti has several choices to make. The past two matches, he's deployed a three-man back line with Timothee Kolodziejczak joining Hugo Ayala and Juninho. Without those two key players and with Jorge Torres ready to return from injury, Ferretti may return to a four-man back line.
Potential starting XI: Guzman; Rodriguez, Ayala, Juninho, Torres Nilo; Sosa, Duenas, Torres; Valencia, Gignac, Vargas
|Goalkeepers||Ustari, Fraga, Toselli, Hernandez|
|Defenders||Jimenez, Marquez, Barreiro, Aguirre, Reyes, Arreola, Calderon, Gonzalez, Monroy|
|Midfielders||Zaldivar, Robles, Vigon, Aboagye, Morrison, Avila, Ramirez, Gomez, Garnica, Nava, Soko|
Rafa Marquez returned from a knock to play at center back against Necaxa during the week. If he's fatigued Daniel Arreola could come in at center back or as left back, with Luis Reyes pushing farther up the field to play on the wing.
Potential starting XI: Toselli; Barreiro, Marquez, Jimenez, Reyes; Aboagye, Robles; Garnica, Henriquez, Gomez; Caraglio
A drab draw during the week against Lobos BUAP made it three winless matches in a row for Tigres, putting far more of a spotlight on Saturday's visit from Atlas than had been expected.
Tigres did play most of the match without midfielder Rafael Carioca, who was sent off in the 21st minute. Yet, last week's home draw to America, which saw Tigres put in a worse game than America but still get out with a point, has fans in Monterrey feeling worried.
Missing Javier Aquino, who suffered a hamstring injury, won't do much to help. Since Aquino left Tigres' match against Pumas, they've picked up just two of nine possible points.
Atlas currently sits in last place in the league but also was able to secure a point during the week thanks to a 1-1 draw at home with Necaxa.
Rafa Marquez returned to the starting lineup, playing center back behind defensive midfielders Clifford Aboagye and Luis Robles. The Mexico legend turned 39 this week and told ESPN Deportes he'd rather win a championship with Atlas instead of going to a fifth World Cup. Neither seems very likely at the moment.
Tigres last lost a league match at home on April 1. For a team like Atlas that has struggled hard this season, getting a point out of their trip to El Volcan will be a struggle as well.