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Atlante, founded on April 18th 1916, will be relegated to the Ascenso MX for the third time in club history. Their fate was sealed five days prior to the team's 98th anniversary when they suffered a 4-3 loss in Torreon to Santos Laguna.
Atlante Relegated to Mexico's Ascenso League
04/14/2014
 
Santos vs Atlante

Atlante, founded on April 18th 1916, will be relegated to the Ascenso MX (Mexican second division) for the third time in club history. Their fate was sealed five days prior to the team's 98th anniversary when they suffered a 4-3 loss in Torreon to Santos Laguna. 


The "Potros de Hierro" (Iron Colts) had the opportunity to pull within three points of Puebla in the relegation race with only two games remaining in the Clausura 2014 tournament. Puebla had suffered a 0-1 loss to Club America earlier in the day and left the door open for Atlante had they been able to defeat the powerful Santos side.   


The three time Mexican league champions will want to avoid getting stuck in the depths of Mexico's second division like other big clubs that have been relegated. Necaxa for example, is still down there since 2011, and  six time champions, club Leon,  took 10 years to be able to come back to the top division. 


Atlante were founded in Mexico City in 1916, they won two amateur league title in 1931-32 and 1940-41. In 1943 when the Mexican Federation first initiated a league composed of several teams from Mexico City, Western Conference, and the Veracruz league; Atlante was one of the Mexico City teams in the first ever "Primera Division" league. They became an instant powerhouse in the new league; finishing runners up in the 1945-46 season and winning their first professional era league title in 1946-47. 


The team also had notable appearances in the Mexico Cup during the 1950s and 1960s. In total Atlante has won the Cup competition on three of the eight times it has reached the final. 


The "Azulgranas" were first relegated in 1976 after bad results and a change of ownership sidetracked the team. They quickly recovered and won the 1976-77 second division championship and the promotion back to the first division. The second time Atlante was forced to drop categories was when the team was owned by various government agencies in the 1989-90 season.  But once again it only took 12 months for the team to find its way back to the top flight winning the second division title in 1991-92 season. 


Upon their return to the "Primera Division",  Atlante, who was then lead by current Club Guadalajara coach and former Mexican National Team manager, Ricardo Lavolpe, was able to win their second league title.  The championship squad was filled with notable personalities like current El Tri manager Miguel "Piojo" Herrera, current Monterrey VP Luis Miguel Salvador, U-17 World Champion manager Raul "Potro" Guiterrez, Jose Guadalup Cruz (who would eventually lead Atlante to another league title as a manager), and goalkeeper Felix Fernandez. 


Atlante's success also allowed the team to participate in CONCACAF's international competition. In 1994 Atlante would finish runners up; the team had previously won the competition in 1983.  


More change in ownership plus change of venues, as well as an attempt of change in the team's colors all combined with poor on field performances almost produced a third relegation in 2001. Atlante had earned the right to be dropped, but since the league was looking to expand from 18 teams to 20 at the time; a $5 million USD fee allowed Atlante to play against the second division runner up for the second expansion slot in first division. Atlante was able to beat Veracruz and was allowed to stay. The poor results did have an impact on the fans who no longer turned up in numbers to support the team. 


Atlante was moved from Mexico City's gigantic Estadio Azteca to Cancun in 2007. During the team's first season on the Mexican Riveria, under the guidance of Jose Guadalupe Cruz, Atlante was able to win its third league title, followed by winning the first ever CONCACAF Champions League under the new format. 


Like all of Mexican soccer in general, Atlante are a team of huge ups and downs. They are no strangers to relegation, but have always found a way to return to the top flight. History alone will not bring back this Mexican iconic team; we only need to look as far as Necaxa and Leon as examples of that. 

 
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