Monterrey – a preseason title favorite – finds itself in the bottom half of the table as struggling Puebla arrives for a Matchday 10 clash.
The Rayados of Monterrey have been all over the place so far in the Apertura 2019. They are not potent team that flashed across the pitch for long stretches of the Clausura 2019 (when they finished in third place).
Monterrey lost its first two games (both on the road), then went on a three-game win streak in which coach Diego Alonso seemed to have re-established order. But since then, the Rayados have lost three of four and fans are losing it as they see the Apertura 2019 season going down the drain. Monterrey is in 11th place in the Liga MX table and in 14th place in our Power Rankings.
Coach Alonso has had to juggle his line-up due to injuries – including a few long-term injuries – but other personnel decisions have caused dissension. Captain Dorlan Pabón has been frustrated with getting subbed out late, and was even left out of the starting line-up once. The recent addition of Dutch striker Vincent Janssen (from Tottenham) has not sparked the offense either.
The absence of playmaker Rodolfo Pizarro has also weakened the Rayados attack. Coach Alonso has been unable to hide his team’s flaws and many fans are letting their frustration be heard. After the team’s stunning 2-0 home loss to Necaxa, fans were chanting “Fuera Alonso.”
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Perhaps their next opponent will be the antidote Alonso needs to cure his team’s woes. Puebla is in 16th place and is playing under its third coach of the season (Juan Reynoso took over on Matchday 7, earning a win over FC Juarez in his debut).
Puebla fought hard in their Matchday 8 draw at Queretaro when the Gallos Blancos were in first place. The Camoteros then looked out of sorts last week at home against Atletico San Luis.
Coach Reynoso knows Puebla does not have the line-up to compete against teams like Monterrey, so he is trying to tighten up the club’s defense and identify opportunistic attackers who can take advantage of the limited scoring chances they will create.
Both teams figure to have morale problems going into this game. Playing at home puts extra pressure on Monterrey, especially against a team Rayados fans expect their team to beat easily. If the Rayados fail to respond, Monterrey could fall into crisis mode and that would be bad news for Diego Alonso.