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Both Monterrey and Pumas are coming off of Week 1 draws to start the 2021 Apertura.
Monterrey had a 1-0 at home before allowing an equalizer in the 90th minute by Puebla to make it 1-1, and as for Pumas, they couldn’t finish their chances in a 0-0 tie with Atlas.
It’s tempting to think that another tie could be in the works, but realistically speaking, Pumas will be the underdogs as they head into the weekend.
With a busier schedule and a less-than-exciting roster, Pumas are set to earn a loss on Saturday.
All signs point towards a good result for the home team.
|Monterrey vs Pumas Information|
|Teams||Monterrey vs Pumas|
|Location||Estadio BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey, Mexico)|
|Time||Saturday, July 31 at 7:00 pm PT/ 10:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN Deportes|
Monterrey were so very close to starting off the 2021 Apertura with three points.
After carrying most of the momentum in their match against Puebla, Monterrey scored what initially appeared to be the game-winner in the 88th minute by Maximiliano Meza.
And yet, it was Puebla who then scored moments later in the 90th, thanks to an opportunity from Christian Tabo.
Following a check from VAR that gave Monterrey a glimmer of hope, the review later confirmed that Puebla’s equalizer would stand.
Monterrey will nearly have a full six days to rest and recoup, and luckily for them, their next opponents could be stumbling into Saturday’s match with depleted energy.
After playing at home in Mexico City last Sunday, Pumas then flew over to the United States to take part in a Florida Cup match against Everton on Wednesday.
With six of their starters involved in a 1-0 loss to the EPL club, Pumas then had to make a turnaround to Monterrey for another match just three days later.
For those keeping track, that’s three games in seven days over two countries for Pumas.
And with several of their starters involved in the mid-week Florida Cup loss, Pumas might not have the adequate energy to defeat or even claim a draw against Monterrey.
Despite the fact that they have some names on national team duty in the Olympics and at the Gold Cup, Monterrey continue to have a long list of incredibly talented Liga MX players.
Within those are Sebastian Vegas and Stefan Medina, two of the top defenders in Liga MX.
Medina, a Colombian international who took part in the summer’s Copa America, has an impressive amount of stamina and defensive awareness as a central or right defender.
Next to him is Vegas, an accomplished and aggressive Chilean who was also in Copa America.
The two will be difficult to break down, and sitting right above them, they’ll be able to distribute some passes to more attack-minded players who should put on a show on Saturday.
With all due respect to Pumas and their leading striker Juan Dinenno, Monterrey simply have more options and talent within their frontline and midfield.
Vincent Janssen has a physical presence that few can contain, winger Duvan Vergara has a blistering amount of speed, Celso Ortiz is a leader in the midfield, and Meza is a game-changer with his dribbling.
On the sidelines, Monterrey are also guided by Javier Aguirre, arguably the greatest Mexican manager of all time.
Now in his second season and with plenty of intriguing pieces to work with, this could end up becoming a dominant tournament for Aguirre and his men.
A win this Saturday would help bring them one step closer to that reality.
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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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