Match: Pachuca CF v CF Monterrey
Date: 21 July
Time: 7 PM CDT, 8PM EDT, 5PM PDT
Venue: Estadio Hidalgo
Television: ESPN Deportes, Univision in the United States, Fox Sports 2 in Mexico.
Streaming: WatchESPN.com in the US, Fox Play Latin America.
Check Livesoccertv for more information
Last Season’s results: Apertura 2017: Monterrey 2-0 at the BBVA Bancomer Stadium, Clausura 2018: Monterrey 2-1 at the Estadio Hidalgo
Monterrey open their Liga MX campaign today as they travel to Pachuca to take on Los Tuzos at the Estadio Hidalgo. Monterrey will be looking to get the bitter taste of a Super Copa MX defeat to Club Necaxa last weekend out of their mouth, whereas Pachuca will be looking for a good start to their Apertura 2018 season at home.
Monterrey made a number of high profile additions this past summer, with none bigger than the signing of former Chivas de Guadalajara midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro. Pizarro joins Monterrey looking to help Los Rayados break through to the title after a near miss in the Apertura 2017 Liguilla, losing at home to arch-rivals Tigres UANL and a disappointing loss to Xolos de Tijuana in the Clausura 2018 Liguilla.
| "Dorlan ha tenido una molestia producto de un golpe de la pretemporada, se ha estado recuperando en los últimos días, decidimos que él parara unos días para que se recuperara y pueda volver pronto con sus compañeros".- @AlonsoDT#ComentarioRayado #OrgulloDeSerRayado ⚪— Rayados (@Rayados) July 20, 2018
SACRIFICADOS VS Pachuca por RAYADOS...— Diego Armando Medina ✋ (@dgoarmando) July 19, 2018
Funes Mori (lesión)
No viajan mañana...
Monterrey will be missing Rogelio Funes Mori and Dorlan Pabón through injury, and it also appears that Jorge Benítez will also not be available. However, if there’s any team that is deep enough to overcome some injury issues, it’s Los Rayados. Avilés Hurtado will be available, and Jesús Gallardo might make his debut for the club today.
The biggest storyline for the match will not involve the players on the pitch, however. Diego Alonso makes a return to the Estadio Hidalgo and Pachuca after leaving the club this past May. Alonso spent three and a half years at Pachuca, practically an eternity in Liga MX. Alonso managed 173 matches for Pachuca and won the Clausura 2016 and the Concacaf Champions League in 2016-17. Alonso was also the manager of the Pachuca team that lost to Monterrey in the Copa MX Apertura 2017.
Pachuca did not have as good an offseason as Monterrey, as Keisuke Honda and Omar Gonzalez both left the club. Former LA Galaxy and United States central defender Omar Gonzalez left for Atlas in the Liga MX draft and Honda did not extend his contract at the club. Otherwise, the club remained pretty intact, but no real additions were made to a squad that finished outside the Liguilla for the third straight season.
The club also hired Pako Ayestarán to be the new manager. Ayestarán will be looking to turn over a new leaf in his second return to Mexico after two disappointing runs as manager in La Liga.
He was let go from his position at Las Palmas after one win in nine games last autumn, previously taking over for Gary Neville at Valencia. He was appointed in a caretaker role at Valencia after Neville was sacked in 2016. Ayestarán got the job full-time at the end of the season but only lasted four games, all losses, at the start of the 2016-17 season. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate the success he had at Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he won a treble, at Pachuca.
Monterrey will likely be favored going into this match, but don’t discount the home advantage that Pachuca will have going, plus the desire for the Tuzos players to get one over on their old manager. It might look favorable for Los Rayados on paper, but this is Liga MX, where literally anything can happen.