De Nigris has 3 of Monterrey's 5 liguilla goals
If you ask any Monterrey fan who they would like to beat to win the Mexican Primera, the answer is not surprising: Tigres, their cross-town rivals. But a close second would be any team from the hated chilangolandia. And if Monterrey lifts the trophy this Sunday (for only the third time in their history, egad), then they will have beaten not one or two, but three teams from the region in Mexico that every Regio hates with a passionate aplomb.
Half the city’s fans will rejoice. The other half, however, will be quick to tell you that they aren’t pulling for Cruz Azul, rather rooting against rayados. Such is the life of a rivalry. I wonder if Tigres fans would rather see their team relegated than see their bitter rivals crowned champions.
I ask that because around here, it seems that aggie fans would rather see their team get blasted in their upcoming bowl so long as Texas loses to Alabama. Far fetched? Consider this: they wrote letters to the Athletic director complaining about a referee decision in a game in which they weren’t even playing. Obsessed? You betcha.
But back to the game at hand (9:00 PM CST, Telemundo). Cruz Azul is one of the big 4, a dynastic team that a cement truck’s worth of trophies in the 70s. But only one since.
But they have had plenty of opportunities, including last year’s apertura. They succumbed to Toluca in penalties. This time, though, they have a coach who has far share of hardware himself. Enrique Meza has established himself as one of the premier coaches in Mexico. He has enjoyed success just about everywhere he has gone (except the Tri). Will he be the one to finally get Cruz Azul the title the club and their fans desperately covet.
I am not so sure. This is a very evenly matched final. Both teams have consistent goal scorers in Humberto Suazo and Emanuel Villa. Their midfields are solid. The areas where we see a little disparity is Cruz Azul’s back line, who have given up 8 goals in the liguilla, where Monterrey only let two slip through. One would expect the goal-keeping to favor Cruz Azul because of Jose de Jesus Corona’s experience, but Jonathan Orozco’s performances in the liguilla having been nothing short of spectacular.
If there is one intangible that can tilt the match-up one way or another it is the angel on the shoulder of one Aldo de Nigris. Aldo has been playing out of his mind ever sincve his brother, Antonio (a Monterrey product), recently passed away while playing for Larissa in the Greek League. In the first game in Monterrey after his brother’s death, it was de Nigris who netted the game winner vs. America. The following week, a de Nigris brace proved to be too much for Toluca to overcome. If de Nigris can keep up the production, the cementeros might have to witness another team crowned champions at their expense.