The CONCACAF Champions League is down to just one Major League Soccer team. Sporting Kansas City are the only hope for MLS with three Liga MX clubs still alive. With the first game of the two-legged semi-final series set to be played in Mexico on Thursday, it’s time to get to know Sporting KC’s opponent Club de Futbol Monterrey.
They are often referred to as Rayados or “The Striped Ones” in English, due to their prominent white and navy stripes on their jerseys.
C.F Monterrey have been around longer than any Liga MX club in the top flight. They were founded in June of 1945. Monterrey have won Liga MX four times, most recently in 2010. They’ve won two domestic cups and most notably they have won CCL three times (each year from 2010/2011 through 2012/2013. They also have won the previous version of this competition, the CONCACAF Cup in 1993. In 2012 they finished third in the club world cup.
Monterrey qualified for CCL this time around by finishing second second in the 2017 Apertura. They were first in the regular season table but ultimately fell to Tigres in the final.
Estadio BBVA Bancomer opened in the summer of 2015. Before we go any further, check out this view.
The venue is Mexico’s fourth largest with a capacity of 53,500 (Children’s Mercy Park seats 18,467 for soccer). The same architecture and design firm that did CMP, Populous, combined in the $200 million effort.
Monterrey are 3-1-0 in CCL, 41-5-19 in league play and 5-4-1 in the playoffs in their home stadium.
Where is Monterrey?
Monterrey is in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. It borders Texas and lays just one state over from the Gulf of Mexico (about 2.5 hours to Laredo, TX on the border). Monterrey serves as the capital and the metropolitan area is home to north of 4.6 million people (about the size of Phoenix, AZ). Monterrey is a wealthier part of Mexico and it is the most “Americanized” city. Their fierce rival, Tigres, play in the same metropolitan area.
Who is the coach?
43-year-old Diego Alonso has only been head coach of Monterrey since May of 2018. Despite how young he is, he’s had good success in his limited time as a head coach. The Uruguayan coach in Uruguay and Paraguay before making his way to Liga MX in 2014 with Pachuca. By 2016 he won the Clausura (the Spring season) and qualified Pachuca for the CCL. They would win CCL and go on to finish third in the Club World Cup.
For 2019 they hadn’t lost all year until the second leg of the last round of the CCL where Atlanta United pulled out a 1-0 win even though they needed several more goals. Since that point they lost to Club Tijuana on March 16th and drew Cruz Azul on this past Saturday. In between those games they played a friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes on won 2-1 without several internationals. Before that they were 8-0-5 in all competitions in 2019. Now they’ve slumped slightly to 9-2-6.
Who’s on the Team?
Sam Kovzan has done a fantastic job breaking down all the positional groups for Monterrey and I recommend those looks at their depth chart to understand the opponent better.
The first leg goes down in Mexico on Thursday, April, 4th.