Scouting Report: CF Monterrey

I'll admit, I don't know much about these opposing sides in the CCL. Nor does Jeremiah. So how are we going to get you a damn fine Scouting Report? By outsourcing it. Also, since this was posted on a summer weekend, I'm bumping it up so those of you who check the site while at work get it.

I asked the team how many tickets have been sold. In a 9 minute stretch it went from mid16k to over 17k, just this morning. It would be a great opportunity for non season ticket holders to get into a game that matters for cheaper.

This Scouting Report is from Kevin KcCauley of All Things Footy.

Of all the tests that the Seattle Sounders face in all competitions this season, C.F. Monterrey looks to be the toughest. The Mexican Primera side won the 2009 Apertura and went into the Bicentenario playoffs with the top seed before being upset by Pachuca. This season, they're on top of their game again, currently sitting in second place both in the overall table and Group 1 of the 2010 Apertura. During the Bicentenario, their goal assassin Humberto Suazo was out on loan to Real Zaragoza, but he's returned and appears to be firing on all cylinders.

He's not all Seattle fans have to worry about, though. Monterrey have a variety of quality players. They did finish first in the regular season of the Bicentenario without him, after all. Fellow strikers Darío Carreño, Sergio Santana, and Jesus De Nigris provide a significant scoring threat as well. This is in addition to attacking midfield threats Walter Ayovi, Neri Cardozo, and Osvaldo Martinez. Generally, only five of these seven players start, so even when Monterrey has injuries or needs to rest players, the still have enough firepower to put up goals on anyone. Big Jesus Zavala and the intelligent Luis Perez give the team balance in the midfield and allow Ayovi, Cardozo, and Martinez the freedom to go forward. Occasionally, both will start when injuries take over or Monterrey just wants a different tactical option.

 

Their defense often goes unnoticed because of the stars in the attack, but their back line is nothing to sleep on. They boast the likes of Duilio Davino and Ricardo Osorio, both Mexican national team veterans. The other regular starting defenders, José María Basanta and William Paredes can't be overlooked, either. Severo Meza is also a first team regular and nothing to scoff at either. On Tuesday against Saprissa, Hector Llanas and Sergio Perez were given run-outs as well and performed admirably. Their goalkeeper, Jonathan Orozco, is also a solid player. At the age of 24, he already has close to 100 league appearances for Monterrey. He’s not a big star like Memo Ochoa or Osvaldo Sanchez, but he is reliable.

Unfortunately for Seattle Sounders fans, their prospects against Monterrey don’t look good. If both teams were healthy and willing to field their first XI, Seattle would have a good shot to nick four points off of Monterrey in the group stages. Unfortunately, Seattle is without Brad Evans and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado at the moment. Additionally, both teams are trying to compete in multiple competitions and as a result, both teams have to make decisions about who to play and who to rest when the fixture list gets tough.

Monterrey have the benefit of having a major cushion in the playoff race in Mexico while Seattle can’t afford to slip up in the league. On top of that, a match against the Chicago Fire the Saturday after facing Monterrey is likely much trickier than Monterrey’s home fixture against Jaguares. Also, Monterrey have a healthy squad and a much deeper squad than Seattle, even when both teams are completely healthy. Best XI vs. best XI, Seattle look OK. B+ side vs. B+ side, Seattle are in some trouble.

The second match between the two sides in CONCACAF Champions League takes place in Monterrey on Sept. 22. That game is sandwiched between road games against Columbus and Chicago for the Sounders. Monterrey have it a little easier with that game being sandwiched between a home game against Atlas and a road game against Queretaro for them.

So, the final verdict? Seattle has a good shot at scraping a point at home, but don’t expect them to walk away from the Estadio Tecnológico with anything. If Seattle want to get out of the group stages safely, they’re going to have to beat Marathon at Qwest Field and take at least four points from Saprissa, if not all six. Seattle Sounders are a good side, but Monterrey, along with Mexican Primera Group 1 rivals Santos Laguna, appear to be the class of CONCACAF.

There are still plenty of tickets available for the match on Wednesday night, and they are cheap. #TrophiesNotFriendlies. Home field is huge in this tournament. Go out and support the boys. You can avoid TicketMaster fees by going through your season-ticket rep or buying at Qwest box office.

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