It has been 11 years since the fans of Cougars sang the “Goya, goya!” along with a champion’s cup, when they won the Clausura 2011 title within Liga MX. The moment could be repeated if they win their visit to the Seattle Sounders in the second leg of the Concachampions 2022, in which they not only have a moral commitment to return that feeling to their people, but also to maintain the undefeated streak of continental Mexico.
The clubs of the MX League have won the last 16 editions of the CONCACAF Champions League, a streak that began with the victory of America in 2006 until Monterrey in 2021; In that period Pachuca, Atlante, Cruz Azul, Chivas and Tigres have also been champions. Now it’s up to Pumas to maintain that trend and is forced to beat Seattle on US soil to do so, after conceding a 2-2 draw at Ciudad Universitaria.
“There are many illusions, we know that it is a golden opportunity that we have won and we do not want to let it pass. We are facing a very difficult rival, on his court, so these are things that we take into account, but we have prepared ourselves to face it and win this final, ”said Pumas coach Andrés Lillini, prior to his visit to Seattle. .
Lillini took office with the whole of the UNAM in the summer of 2020 and since then he has become a specialist in surprising when he has the adverse outlook. In the semifinals of the Guardianes 2020 he came back from 0-4 against Cruz Azul and in the quarterfinals of the Apertura 2021 he knocked out the super leader América by a bulky score of 1-3 at the Azteca stadium, which makes the auriazul fans excited in search of title Concacaf.
“We want and we are convinced that to close the circle of the things that we have been doing for a championship, it would be to give back to the club and to the fans everything they do for us. Above all, the group deserves recognition from these, they have won this opportunity and I think we have to show where we are”, added the strategist of Argentine origin.
Pumas holds three titles of Concacaf, the fourth highest number in the list of winners in history. However, those stars were achieved in 1980, 1982 and 1989, when the current format of the Club World Cup did not yet exist. The only time they had fought for a ticket to such a tournament was in 2005, but they lost the final against Saprissa of Costa Rica, which in fact was the last crown lost by a Liga MX team before the 16-game winning streak.
From 2011 to date the Cougars They have been runners-up in the Liga MX on a couple of occasions (Apertura 2015 and Guardianes 2020), but at the international level their last finals were in 2005, right in the Concachampions and also in the Copa Sudamericana, when they fell to Boca Juniors in a series of penalties. by a score of 4-3.
The possibility of recovering the feeling of a title has also put on the table the issue of the renewal of Andrés Lillini in the auriazul technical direction, although the Argentine admits that this decision also depends on a deep assessment of what he has achieved at the level of the MX League.
“It doesn’t change the equation with me. In the future of the players there is a sports analysis that we will reveal once the league competition is over. Of course, as long as one is a champion, playing a final and a playoff will surely help those of us who have doubts, but I would tell you that when the Liga MX situation is over, “said Lillini, who will also have a crucial duel when visiting Chivas within the playoff of the Clausura 2022 tournament, for a pass to the quarterfinals.
for duels before Seattle Sounders Y Chivas, Cougars he doubts the right back Alan Mozo, who has been one of his most prominent figures and even team captain in the absence of Alfredo Talavera. Mozo suffered a spectacular accident in the first leg of the Concachampions in Ciudad Universitaria, but despite this he made the trip to the United States waiting to be taken into account by Andrés Lillini.