Cruz Azul vs Monterrey – Saturday 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET Estadio Azul, Mexico City.
Cruz Azul has surprised many this season. The butt of jokes much of last season after finishing the Liga MX full season in 14th spot with 40 points. Considered one of Mexico’s biggest club the team from the capital failed to reach the playoffs in both the Apertura and Clausura stage of the season.
Founded in 1927 as part of the Cooperativa Cemento Cruz Azul in Jasso, now known as the Ciudad Cooperativa Cruz Azul, the club has played in Mexico City since 1971. Currently, at home at the Estadio Azul, the club is considered a traditional powerhouse. At the same time, it has been many years since the club that represents the working class of Mexico City has seen success.
The last league title dates back to 1997. The 2013 Copa MX title and the triumph in the 2014 CONCACAF Champions League have done little to hide the fact that Cruz Azul have been a club on the decline and have very little in common with the club that dominated Mexican football in the 1970s. This season they have been off to a good start and are one of just two teams still undefeated in the league.
In fact, the other team that is still undefeated are the visitors Monterrey. Monterrey are currently in first place in Liga MX. Los Rayados have been a dominant force early on this season scoring 14 goals and conceding just three in the first 14 games. With five victories and one draw, they are three points ahead of second placed América.
Monterrey’s early dominance, in fact, has already been a major talking point on the Golazo Podcast this season and this week’s guest Tom Marshall said that they finally are playing like a side coached by Antonio Mohamed. Mohamed loves playing high pressing high tempo football and Monterrey have been perhaps the most accelerating side in the league to watch. The question, of course, will be whether Monterrey can sustain their success into the off-season.
Cruz Azul vs Monterrey – Players to look out for:
Felipe Mora #9 – Cruz Azul
The Chilean invasion of Liga MX also has had an impact on Cruz Azul. The azure blues currently have three Chilean players in the squad. The latest arrival is Felipe Mora, who was signed from Universidad de Chile this summer. Having scored two goals already Mora has created a dangerous partnership with the Spanish winger Edgar Méndez, who has already scored on four occasions.
Avilés Hurtado #18 – Monterrey
The 30-year-old Avilés Hurtado was signed from Tijuana in the 2017 summer draft in Cancun. The Colombian came in to replace Edwin Cardona. Cardona was a fantastic technician with a hammer for a shot, but he would often slow the game down. A formidable attacking player Hurtado can play as both a striker and trequartista. A dominant player Hurtado adds to an already dangerous Monterrey forward line and could be the difference maker this weekend and when it comes to the title this season. Adding Hurtado to the style has also allowed Monterrey to play a more athletic brand of football.
Cruz Azul vs Monterrey – Match Stats
- Cruz Azul and Monterrey are the only remaining undefeated teams in the league.
- Monterrey have not lost to Cruz Azul in three games.
- Cruz Azul has not managed to keep a clean sheet against Monterrey in four games.
- Monterrey have won the last three games against Cruz Azul.
Prediction: Cruz Azul vs Monterrey 1-3
Cruz Azul vs Monterrey – Possible Lineups
Corona – Silva, Dominguez, Roco, Aldrete – Baca, Penalba, Silva – Mendez, Mora, Mena
Gonzalez – Fuentes, Montes, Sanchez, Medina – Carlos Sanchez, Ortiz, Cardozo – Hurtado, Funes Mori, Pabon
Coach: Antonio Mohamed
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.