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Monterrey will go into this tie as the clear favorites. They came very close to winning the Apertura but were knocked out after a poor semi-final first-leg display against Pachuca.
Prior to the Apertura season, there wasn’t a lot between Monterrey and Guadalajara in terms of quality, but Monterrey took massive strides in 2022, and Guadalajara were more or less where they were before the Apertura season.
Guadalajara have a superior head-to-head record. They’ve come out on top 10 times in their 22 meetings. Monterrey have won eight of the games, with four ending in a draw. Both sides have a great backline, so this game could be quite low-scoring.
Monterrey, as mentioned earlier, will go into this tie as favorites, but Guadalajara will have nothing to fear heading into this tie. The last meeting between the two sides saw Guadalajara come out on top with a 1-0 victory.
Ormeno Santiago scored the only goal of the game. It was an 80th-minute strike, assisted by Carlos Cisneros. There wasn’t a lot between the two sides in this game. Guadalajara had 52% of the possession, but Monterrey took six shots compared to Guadalajara’s five.
Five of Monterrey’s shots worked the goalkeeper, however, but they couldn't find the elusive goal. This game has all the makings of a similarly tight affair but we're backing Monterrey to make a strong start to the season.
The second-leg semifinal loss to Pachuca will still hurt, but Monterrey have to make sure that something similar doesn’t occur again. They’ve still got a very strong squad that is capable of going all the way. In the final stages, it’s all about little details, and Erick Aguirre’s red card against Pachuca completely shifted the tide of the game.
Some time has passed since that loss. They can’t be wallowing over it for too long and have to start the Clausura season with the mindset that got them to the semifinals. Conceding five goals in a game is certainly not the norm for them. This side conceded just 13 goals in the Apertura league stage last season. Of course, they can’t think too far ahead for now. Their focus should just be on Guadalajara on the weekend.
Monterrey were quite reliant on Aguirre and German Berterame last season to produce upfront, and the two certainly delivered. Aguirre got nine goals and one assist, while Berterama managed seven goals and three assists. They were also assisted by former Argentinian international Maximiliano Meza, who contributed to three goals and four assists.
The three of them should be fit and firing once again. Of course, this side is hugely reliant on their defense for most of the points. They had an extraordinary defensive record last term, conceding just 13 in the league stage.
They’ll need that backline to come good once again – not just in the league, but also in the knockout round. Monterrey have a great history in the competition, with four Liga MX championship titles and three CONCACAF Champions League titles. The expectations will be high once again.
Monterrey, unsurprisingly, haven't done a lot of business in the winter transfer window. This is a pretty strong team, and Victor Vutcetich has just got to refine a few things and change the mentality of the squad in the knockout stages.
They’ve bought Jordi Cortizo from Puebla and Omar Gueva on loan. They’ve let Cesar Montes, Adam Bareiro, and Matias Kranevitter go for a fee, while Daniel Parra has left the club on loan.
Guadalajara are 12-time Liga MX winners. Only Club America have been more successful domestically. Finishing in 9th place will not be accepted by the fans, and players and staff will also be well aware that this isn’t good enough.
The offensive department, especially, needs help. They only managed 19 goals in the league stage last season, which isn’t going to threaten most defenses over a similar period of time. Victor Guzman was their top scorer with six goals.
He also contributed to three assists. Alexis Vega contributed to five goals and four assists, while Jesus Angulo scored four and registered one assist. Having many contributors is certainly a positive, but one of these contributors needs to up his numbers if Guadalajara are to make a splash at the top of the table.
The defense, however, did quite well. They only conceded 17 goals in the league last season, which equates to conceding one goal per game.
It’s widely accepted among Liga MX fans that Guadalajara are the most well-supported team in the league. The team last won something of note in 2018. They won the CONCACAF Champions League that year, and won the Liga MX Clausura the year before.
They weren’t very successful for over a decade prior to these achievements and should make sure that this doesn’t not repeat itself. Beating a strong team like Monterrey – or even putting in a strong showing away from home will go a long way to showing the skeptics that they mean business once again. A rich history and supportive fans can only do so much,
Even when a team isn’t in the best place, the fans need something to get behind. This wasn’t there last season. The team struggled for goals, which made watching the team a bit of a chore. Without results and some entertainment, things can get very toxic. Guadalajara have got to solve this before building something lasting.
Fans won’t be very happy to learn that Guadalajara haven’t been very busy in this transfer window. In fact, they’ve mainly let go of some players. Jesus Molina has left the club on a free. Jesus Angulo and Alexis Pena have also left for undisclosed fees. Josecarlos van Rankin and Angel Zaldivar have left on loans.
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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