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The tie has too much appeal here.
Yes, Monterrey is title-favorites, and yes, you can make the argument that they now have the best manager in Liga MX, but you can’t count America out of this one.
America has their own new manager that is eager to make a big splash in the early days of his tenure, and most importantly, they also have plenty of game-changers that can thrive in a high-profile match like this one.
It’s fair to lean towards Monterrey as a safe guess, but there’s no denying that America could easily make this marquee battle a close one.
The tie for Monterrey vs America (+245)
|Monterrey vs Club America Information|
|What||Monterrey vs Club America|
|Where||Estadio BBVA (Monterrey, Mexico)|
|When||Saturday, January 16th at 10:00 PM ET|
|How to Watch||Fox Sports 1|
It’s early days in the 2021 Clausura tournament, but could Monterrey vs America potentially be a preview for a future semifinal or final battle?
One wouldn’t be blamed for thinking so. In fact, according to FiveThirtyEight, both teams are currently in the top four when it comes to the highest probability of lifting this season’s Liga MX title. Joining them in that chase are Cruz Azul and Tigres, two other powerhouses of North American soccer.
But enough about predicting a title that’s months down the line — what about this weekend? In what is one of the most prominent matches of the Liga MX schedule, what should fans expect when both Monterrey and America step onto the immaculate field at the Estadio BBVA?
Many that will tune-in and watch will likely anticipate a win for Monterrey, but there’s reason to believe that the match will end up being much closer than expected…
The Mexican soccer world went into a frenzy in early December when it was announced that veteran manager Javier “El Vasco” Aguirre had joined Monterrey. Following a two-decade journey abroad that included coaching gigs in La Liga, and national team positions with Egypt and Japan, Aguirre returned to Mexico to take charge of the 2019 Apertura champions.
As arguably the top Mexican manager, there has been an immense amount of hype built around the coach who is now leading what is arguably the top roster in the region as well.
That said, fans will need to be patient before seeing dominant results.
Up against a less-than-exciting side like Atlas last week, Monterrey was decent at best in their 2-0 win. The result, more than anything else, was an indictment of a lackadaisical Atlas squad that eventually went down to 10 men by the 60th minute.
America will be a much sterner test. They won’t shoot themselves in the foot like Atlas, and when looking at their own roster and sideline, there’s plenty to be excited about their team too.
Aguirre wasn’t the only incoming Liga MX manager that made headlines this winter. Weeks after the Aguirre to Monterrey news broke, America stole the spotlight when it was announced that former Real Madrid player and coach Santiago Solari was now in charge.
And although his squad isn’t at the level of a Monterrey, the 44-year-old who once played under Marcelo Bielsa has plenty of firepower within his roster to make them certified title-contenders.
Guillermo Ochoa is the best goalkeeper in Liga MX, midfielder Sebastian Cordova is one of the next big things in Mexican soccer, right-back Jorge Sanchez has the ability to one day play in Europe and Pedro Aquino is potentially the top defensive midfielder in the league. These are just a few names that make-up an illustrious roster.
And despite the fact that Monterrey’s squad is slightly better, Solari has enough game-changers to make this a difficult fight.
As much as fans would love to see a thrilling end-to-end game that’s highly vertical and with plenty of shots, that probably won’t happen this weekend. In massive matches like these, there are regularly playoff-like vibes between squads who would rather slowly test the waters than dive straight in and leave themselves vulnerable.
Keeping in mind that this will also be the second game for both managers who only have one under their belts in their current tenures, it would make sense for them to not take risks or chase a win if the score is level.
In a league that constantly chews managers up and spits them out, a pragmatic approach is at times vital for highly visible matches like these. Hence, expect the tie.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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