Atlanta, GA. - The last time Nicolas Benedetti faced an MLS team, the Colombian scored the goal that paved the way for Club America to the Leagues Cup semifinal, as Las Águilas eliminated the Houston Dynamo in the quarterfinal round.
On Wednesday night, the 22 year-old midfielder will have the chance to beat another MLS opponent when los azulcrema face Atlanta United at Mercedes Benz Stadium in the second edition of the Campeones Cup.
“If I have the chance to play I will give my all,” Benedetti said Monday after arriving in Atlanta. “We will play for a trophy and we can’t save any energy.”
Campeones Cup is the event that in one night, one game between two teams and two leagues, crowns a champion between MLS and Liga MX. Tigres UANL took home the trophy last year in Toronto.
But Benedetti understands that with Atlanta United, it's never an easy task. “Both teams have excellent rosters and we will have to fight until the end in order to lift the trophy.”
For many, playing one game only rather than a full tournament to win a trophy devaluates the competition, but the midfielder believes the contrary. “A title is a title, and when you play for a big team like América and you have one game to make history, you should take it.”
The number 14 insisted that his teammates share the mentality of winning everything. “We should go out with the right mindset and work hard every minute so we can lift the trophy at the end of the night”.
The talented Colombian is on his way back from a fifth metatarsal injury that sidelined him for three months and thinks Campeones Cup is the perfect scenario for him to recover his game.
“It’s not easy to come back (from injury). But I’m hoping that by playing more and more minutes I can return quickly to the level I used to have,” he said.
As for the next step, Benedetti is eying the Colombian National Team. “I’m working towards that. This games, the minutes in Liga MX, for me everything is part of my idea of working hard to get another call-up very soon."
In the meantime, Atlanta United stand between Club América and another celebration, another win this year in a massive clash with an MLS team. Benedetti is well aware of what’s at stake and, as he did against the Dynamo a few weeks back, he’s ready to shine.