Keys to Victory - Monterrey vs Cruz Azul


by Anthony Garcia

Tonight the team known as La Maquina travel to Monterrey, Nuevo León to take on Los Rayados.  Monterrey hopes to end Cruz Azul’s dream season early, and must get a big result tonight at Estadio BBVA Bancomer.  Here are my keys to tonight’s matchup between the two titans of LigaMX.

If Cruz Azul hopes to get the win they must:

  • Resist the urge to constantly play long balls to strikers. Monterrey has very fast athletes from top to bottom. Short passes are the way to go to force Monterrey’s midfield to play both defense and offense and wear them out.

  • Counter Attack. Counter Attack. Counter Attack. Monterrey prefers to attack and get numbers forward up to the offensive side of the ball, so if La Maquina defend as a unified team, the dangerous Cruz Azul counter-attack will get endless opportunities.

  • Be aware of Rayados’ strategies. Monterrey will attempt to shut down Elias Hernandez.  Roberto Alvarado will need to capitalize on his opportunities to make Rayados pay.

  • Stay in the present. Cruz Azul’s first round matchup was easy. They are in for a much tougher challenge against Monterrey. Take it one match at a time.

If Monterrey hopes to get the win they must:

  • Ride the wave. Coming off a huge win over the most complete team in LigaMX, Santos Laguna, Rayados need to carry that momentum into their series with Cruz Azul if they want to have a shot at taking down La Maquina.

  • Come through with the finish. Monterrey creates many opportunities but finishing them has been an issue all season. Mori will need to continue his hot streak and be the goal scorer they desperately need.

  • Neutralize Elias Hernandez and force Alvarado to make a play.  Elias is the key to Cruz Azul’s success. If they are able to slow him down, Monterrey’s chances to pull off the upset increase.

  • Attack Aldrete. He tends move up a lot and attack aggressively. The more they attack Aldrete and force him to defend, the less likely he will play a major role in Cruz Azul’s attack. By the time the second half hits, he may run out of gas and be susceptible to defensive breakdowns.

  • Seek out Revenge!  Cruz Azul defeated Monterrey to win the Copa MX.  If Rayados remain patient and score off the counter early, Cruz Azul will begin to hit the long ball and get desperate.

Anthony Garcia is the lead soccer analyst of the El Three Podcast. He lives for the game and is unafraid to share his passion with anyone bold enough to listen.