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Four Questions: Eugene Rupinski on Atlas FC



The second round of the Concacaf Champions League is here, and so is the Philadelphia Union’s matchup against Liga MX side Atlas FC.

We reached out to our friend and former Brotherly Game editor Eugene Rupinski, who now covers Liga MX for FMF State of Mind, to find out more about the Union’s international competition.

Philadelphia Soccer Now: Who is Atlas? What’s the club’s history?

Eugene Rupinski: Atlas is one of the older clubs in México, Atlas celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2016 and has a long tradition of developing players at their academy (one of their nicknames is La Academia because of this). They are from Guadalajara, and their biggest rivals are their cross-town foes Chivas, which they play in the Clásico Tapatío. While Chivas has historically been the more successful team, Atlas has recently turned that on its head a bit. They won back-to-back Liga MX titles in the 2021 Apertura and 2022 Clausura, becoming just the third team behind Pumas and León to win the bicampeonato. The 2021 Apertura championship broke a 70-year drought for La Fiel, which had its own place in the lore of Mexican soccer history. Their biggest supporter’s group, La Barra 51, references that first championship in 1951.

PSN: How does Atlas like to play? What are their tactics?

ER: Tactically, Atlas plays a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 where the wingers do a lot of the work of moving the ball down the field. While they’re good in the build-up, they can also hit on a counterattack. They also feast on set pieces, so limiting free kicks from 20-30 yards out and corner kicks is critical. There are a lot of creative players who are good on their feet, and don’t be surprised if they shoot from anywhere.

PSN: Who are the star players? Who is someone that Union fans should watch for?

ER:  Atlas is a lot like the Union, ironically enough. Goalkeeper Camilo Vargas is one of the better goalkeepers in the league and has earned the starting position with the Colombian National Team in recent matches. And while Atlas’ defense is impressive, their offense is multi-faceted and dynamic. Left winger Brian Lozano was a first choice for Uruguay before suffering a broken leg in 2020, and has worked his way back into being a dangerous threat for Atlas. He can whip in a cross from wide or cut in and shoot on goal with devastating effect, and his free kick abilities should not be underestimated. His former teammate at Santos Laguna, Julio Furch, is a dangerous striker, who can use his size and ability in the air to beat you as well as his dribbling ability and ability to shoot from anywhere. Julián Quiñones is a great foil for Furch, as he brings another dimension to the attack in his silky passing and knack for being in the right place at the right time. And since this is a team that prides itself on its homegrown players, watch No. 7 Ozziel Herrera. At just 21, he’s quickly earning a reputation for being one of the brightest young attackers in the league, earning a starting spot on this team.

PSN: Will Atlas be missing anyone against Philly? What is your aggregate score prediction?

ER: As far as I know Atlas is healthy and should have everyone available. Will they play everyone while currently on the cusp of missing the Liguilla? That’s to be determined, however, I believe they will go all out for this and rely on their best eleven to get the job done. It should be an entertaining series, and I think both sides have a legitimate shot at moving on to the next round. It will really come down to who can capitalize on chances and what the series looks like going back to Guadalajara. If Atlas can take a lead back to México, the Union will be in real trouble, but I don’t necessarily see that happening. Philadelphia isn’t an easy place to play, and I think it will be a close series through the final whistle.


Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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