Toluca Rolls on... Monterrey Teases

It was mid-week matchday madness in Mexico last night. The big 4 did nothing to lift themselves out of the banality of the middle of the table. Two other teams emerged as front-runners with impressive victories. One was expected. The other, not so much.

Defending champion Toluca is proving that the crown is not weighing them down as the Diablos systematically dropped Chivas at the Jalisco. Their style of play may not conjure up images of their scoring machine days with Jose Saturino Cardozo earlier in the decade, but they seem to be the most patient team in the league. They were not fazed at all by Ramon Morales’ free kick equalizer in the 72nd; it was business as usual. Sinha knocked in the game winner 8 minutes from time. It’s sad to me that the most popular team in Mexico does not have a more intimidating home-field advantage. They have great fans, but not all of them seem to make it into the stadium for games. The fans who were there, though, did find the time to lob insults toward the beleaguered SGE, who was in attendance.

A team whose fans do bother to show up consistently is Monterrey. Like their crosstown rivals, Tigres, Monterrey seems to always play to full houses. Their fans must really love them because Monterrey hasn’t really paid dividends when it comes to trophies. But they have come oh, so close many times. Aldo de Nigris got a brace and an assist vs. Necaxa in the 3-0 win. Fans get excited when they see a guy like de Nigris play well because Mexican players don’t score very often in the league, much less get a mutli-goal game. So I expect his name will be thrown into the hat for Tri duty. He is the only Mexican national in the top 10 goal scorers for now. Andconsidering how bad the Tri is up front, he might as well get a look.

As for Necaxa, the rayos (named as such because the team was founded with help from the Power and Light utility, but are now owned by Televisa) gave up as many goals as they had players sent off. They have hit Defcon 1 in the relegation fight with only 2 points from 18. How could you let this happen Televisa? And with the coach that people wanted to replace Hugo.

Monterrey is on 13, one point behind the leaders Pachuca and Toluca. But they have been here before. Hot starts and limp finishes are nothing new to fans of los Rayados. Usually, their big name foreigners are duds. Going to Monterrey is a career-killer for most. But Chilean striker, Humberto “el chupete” Suazo, is showing no signs of Regionitis. Monterrey has a good, young keeper in Jonathan Orozco, and proven veterans on all lines. It’s always buyer beware with Monterrey, but this year might be different. Maybe.

6 weeks in, it’s good to see that the teams that are playing the best are reflected in the top of the table. There are still a lot games to be played and coaches to fired, though.