With the Liga MX Final finally about to take place after a short hiatus, I was able to catch up with FOX Sports anchor Mariano Trujillo and talk about the upcoming series between Club América and Monterrey. The 2019 Apertura Liguilla was placed on a brief hiatus so that Monterrey could play in the Club World Cup, taking eventual champions Liverpool to the brink in the semifinal round before beating Al-Hilal in penalties in the third place match.
That third place finish was central to a lot of our conversation, as Trujillo tried to gauge the eventual impact that would have on the outcome of the Final. “I think Rayados did a great thing bringing back nine of their starters to adjust to the time (difference between Qatar and Monterrey) and to be ready for Thursday,” he says, adding that it will also be a boost to Rayados’ confidence. “When you compete against the best you know that... when you come back and play against América,” he says, “you can be on a different level if you play at your best.”
Monterrey will need to be at their best however. Trujillo acknowledged that América being rested and being able to press better will be an advantage. “But it depends how the game how the game develops, because if Rayados can get the first goal then they can manage the situation. And obviously the fitness will be less important because they will be managing that situation better they’re if winning already. On the contrary,” he continues, “if this, if the (first) game goes 0-0 the pressure will be on Rayados and they will have to push themselves a little bit harder.”
That said, Trujillo sees the upcoming series as too close to call. “Actually we (Trujillo, John Laguna, Rodolfo Landeros, and the rest of the FOX Sports crew in Monterrey) were eating breakfast a few minutes ago. We were arguing about that. And we were doing the exercise of comparing the starting eleven man by man and position by position, and I think it’s pretty even. I think it will be a matter of how sharp they are.”
“I think a great example will be that the game against Liverpool,” he says, referencing the Club World Cup semifinal match. “Monterrey was pretty good pretty much all game, but it was just one blink, one play, and they lost. I think that the final can be the same due to the quality of both teams. I think is going to be even in little details can make the difference. A distraction, or red card, maybe a VAR bad call, something like that can make the difference.”