Underachieving Atlas on verge of second coaching change
As Matchday 10 came to a close on March 15, several coaches appeared set to lose their jobs. Among those on a short leash were Rafael Puente, Jr. (Atlas), José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre (Toluca) and Antonio Mohamed (Monterrey). Luis Fernando Tena was taken off this list when his Chivas ended a 5-game winless streak on Matchday 7 to start a 3-game win streak.
Atlas manager Rafa Puente was the odds-on favorite to be the second Liga MX coach sacked, before the unplanned break. The first coach given the pink slip was Puente’s predecessor, Leandro Cufré.
Zorros management had tweaked the roster while expressing confidence that the club’s academy would supply quality to the line-up. Ironically, Atlas won its opener on the road against Cruz Azul (the Cementeros currently sit atop the table), encouraging Atlas’ positive outlook.
But ownership showed little patience after the Zorros lost their next two games, firing Cufré after only three games. Puente was hired four days later but was not on the sidelines for the club’s 2-1 home win over Tijuana on Matchday 4. Interim coach Omar Flores got credit for that win.
Puente took over on Matchday 5 and proceeded to watch his Zorros lose five straight, including a home loss to hated crosstown rivals Guadalajara.
This stretch pushed Puente’s personal record to 12 consecutive losses, and 14 straight without a win, dating back to his final days as coach of Querétaro.