Mexican Apertura Decided Tonight

I was afforded the opportunity to attend games at the 1994 edition, and it would have been nice to have the World Cup played within three hours of my dooprstep again. For that I am disappointed. However, I also understand that this is the World Cup, not the Western World Cup. I am perfectly happy to let others have a chance to do the same.

Is FIFA crooked? Tell me what multi-national organization isn’t. Did Russia and Qatar buy the World Cups? Probably. They did what they had thought they had to do in order to secure the winning bids. Don’t hate the playas….

Bill has been tremendous in his coverage of the World Cup selection process. My hat off to you, Bill. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Now on to more pressing matters…

The Final Norteño’s first leg played out as most of us expected: a lot fireworks and not so much defense. So it was no surprise that 5 goals were scored.

Now that Santos has the 3-2 advantage, are they going to sock it in and force Rayados to beat them? I’m sure they wish they could. But neither their shoddy defense nor their style will let them. If they want to win their 4th title in their 21 year top flight existence, they are probably going to need goals.

Santos has been an unqualified success since they joined the top flight. Teams that have been around for much longer only wish they had as much hardware. They have a very good chance to add a 4th title tonight. Monterrey is also looking for their 4th title. If they win tonight, they will have achieved in 365 days what it took the previous 65 years to accomplish: win two titles.

Santos got a huge game from Ivan Estrada Thursday night. The right back returned from injury and exploited Walter Ayovi’s loose marking to score one goal and set up another. Monterrey is expecting a similar boost from the return of Luis Perez. Even though Perez isn’t as flashy as Estrada, he does all the dirty work necessary to free up the creative players, including filling gaps left by midfielders who aren’t as committed to their defensive craft.

If Perez can plug the holes, Monterrey has a very good chance to win tonight. And they will, by one goal. Then they finish the job in penalties.