On Saturday. February 22th Monterrey will host Club America as part of Jornada 7 in the Mexican Clausura. This will be the first time Rayados and Las Aguilas will meet up since the final in December.
Monterrey is off to a very rough start in the season. Rayados are the only team in the league that has yet to win a game. The current Liga MX champions currently sit in the last place with only 3 points. Despite the terrible form in the league, Rayados qualified for the Copa MX Semifinals on Wednesday by defeating Santos 1-0.
Aviles Hurtado and Lionel Vangioni remain sidelined due to injuries.
Club America are having a good start to the season, Las Aguilas currently sit in second place of the league table. America has the best defense in the league but the team remains to be unimpressive going forward.
Las Aguilas had a tough midweek game where they tied 1-1 vs Comunicaciones FC in Guatemala. A match that was full of hard challenges and bad refereeing.
Benedetti underwent ACL and meniscus surgery this week and his recovery time is expected to be 6-9 months.
Roger Martinez remains separated from the squad.
Rogelio Funes Mori is a player you can count on to give you 10 plus goals each season. “El Mellizo” has had a slow start to the season having only scored 2 goals in 6 games. The slow start to the season does not mean Funes Mori is not a very dangerous player. Funes Mori is a player that not only scores but plays a very important role in the build-up as well, a player that can play with his back to the goal and guard the ball very well. Funes Mori will be seeing a lot of Bruno Valdez throughout this match.
Bruno Valdez continues to be one of the leaders of this defense along with Paul Aguilar. Valdez is playing at a very high level and has played a crucial role in America having the best defense in the league. Valdez is going to play a role in stopping Funes Mori, as he will drop down with him when he tries to receive the ball in the build-up. Valdez will also be very important on corners both attacking and defending. This will be a close matchup and could be determined on a set-piece play.
Stefan Medina is one of the first names on Antonio Mohamed’s lineup week in week out. The Colombian international has played every minute so far this season. Medina is a player that can play as a third center-back or as a right-back where Mohamed plays him most of the time. Medina isn’t a flashy or speedy player but he has incredible timing when it comes to reading the game. Medina will have his hands full on Saturday when he tries to stop Andres Ibarguen.
Andres Ibarguen is a very unpredictable player, you never know what version of him you will get. Ibarguen on his day is almost unstoppable with his speed and ability to take on multiple players and his ability to score goals. On the other hand, there’s the version of Ibarguen that loses possession and becomes a ghost at times. It will be interesting to see what version of Ibarguen we will get to match up against Medina on Saturday.
Celso Ortiz is one of the most underrated midfielders in Liga MX, Ortiz has great positioning and is one of the players responsible for starting the Monterrey counter attacks. Ortiz plays like a traditional number 5, often in charge of doing the work you won’t see on the stat sheet. In the Liga MX Final, we saw Celso Ortiz and Richard Sanchez matchup in a great battle throughout two games.
Richard Sanchez has been America’s most impressive player this season. Richard Sanchez had a slow start to his America career because of the adaptation process. Last season towards the liguilla we started to see the level of play that Sanchez has. Sanchez is a box to box midfielder with great passing ability. “El Cachorro” is also in charge of taking the set pieces for America which throughout time has proven to be one of the weaknesses of the Rayados side.
Referee: Jorge Isaac Rojas