Match: CF Monterrey v Cruz Azul
Date: October 23rd, 2018
Time: 9:36 PM CDT, 10:36 PM EDT, 7:36PM PDT
Venue: BBVA Bancomer, Monterrey, Mexico
Television: Fox Deportes in the United States, TDN, ESPN2 Norte, Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte in Mexico and Central America
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling (Free trial + monthly subscription), Fox Play Norte & ESPN Play Norte in Central America & Mexico, Fox Sports GO in the US
Check Livesoccertv for more information
¡Llegó el día! Este miércoles 31 de octubre se jugará la #GranFinal de la #COPAMX #Apertura2018.— Copa MX (@CopaMx) October 31, 2018
¿Quién es tu favorito, @Rayados o @Cruz_Azul_FC? pic.twitter.com/ykM6VOxsZu
The Copa MX final is here!
Cruz Azul and Monterrey have a chance to win a trophy tonight, and even though this isn’t the trophy that either team or fanbase really wants, only a maximum of two clubs will have an opportunity to lift a trophy in the Apertura 2018, while 16 other teams will be lifting nothing. A trophy is still a trophy, even if it is the Copa MX.
Both Cruz Azul and Monterrey have had the reputation of not being able to win the “big game” in recent seasons. Even with Monterrey winning last year’s Apertura 2017 Copa MX, they didn’t win the Liga MX Apertura title despite being the dominant team all season, losing the final at home to crosstown rivals Tigres instead.
Diego Alonso has had a rough Apertura season at Monterrey and a win tonight could go along way towards getting some pressure off his back. The team has suffered an enormous amount of injuries this season, with Jonathan Gonzalez, Rodolfo Pizarro, José Basanta, César Montes, Avilés Hurtado, and Rogelio Funes Mori all missing for part of the season. On top of those injuries, they’ve also lost Jonathan Urretaviscaya and Arturo González for the season. While some of those players are now back, Nico Sanchez, who has been deadly from set pieces all season, will miss out through suspension after picking up a red card against Pachuca in the semifinals.
Jesus Gallardo and Pizarro were added in the offseason as potential missing pieces of the puzzle in order to finally win the Liga MX title. Bbut success has been elusive this season, and Monterrey are limping towards the Liguilla and do not look to be one of the favorites going into the competition.
A win tonight could put some wind in the sails of Monterrey, and a victory over an opponent that recently beat them in the regular season will certainly give this team some momentum towards the Liguilla.
Cruz Azul, on the other hand, are one of the surprises of the Apertura 2018 season. Pedro Caixinha has his team near the top of the Liga MX table and they are looking to grab a trophy for the first time in what seems like forever. They are currently third in the table, only one point off of the leader Club América.
Elias Hernández, fresh off a switch from Leon, has been leader for Cruz Azul this season, and his five goals and four assists in Liga MX play lead the team. Milton Caraglio and Roberto Alvarado are also dangerous players for Cruz Azul. Alvarado was a big addition from Necaxa this past summer, and the 20 year-old has even made his senior debut for Mexico.
The Copa MX final is going to be played in the BBVA Bancomer, so Monterrey have the home field advantage. The match earlier this season between the two clubs was fairly even, if not a bit controversial. It featured a red card, a few fouls that could have drawn red, a penalty and two goals in the first 25 minutes. Funes Mori was sent off early on, and Cruz Azul rode their numerical advantage the rest of the match to hold on for the win after scoring a second goal in the 71st minute.
This might not be the last time these two teams play as well, as both clubs are in currently in the Liguilla, and while the standings will probably change, if the season ended today these two teams would meet in the first round.
Expect a good match with an eye for a potential Liguilla match-up in the cards. 19 year-old Daniel Lajud for Monterrey is a player to watch, as he’s been involved in the Copa MX matches up to this point, and scored a great goal in the semifinal win over Pachuca and a brilliant goal against Deportivo Toluca in the regular season two weekends ago.