Monterrey, flush after their success in the Concacaf Champions League, traveled to take on struggling Deportivo Toluca in the Estadio Nemesio Díez. While Monterrey was looking to solidify their position in the Liga MX table, Toluca was looking for a positive result after a loss last week to Pachuca had stopped a small run of decent form.
Despite the difference in league position, Toluca dominated the match as Monterrey struggled to get anything going and looked just awful in the second half, while Toluca looked much more like the team that had made a few Liguillas in a row rather than the team that had lost 5-0 on aggregate to Sporting Kansas City in the round of 16 of the CCL.
The first half was nothing to write home about for either team, although Monterrey wasted a few chances that normally would have expected los Rayados to convert. In general, Toluca also had a number of chances to get a goal, but they would take the lead right before halftime on a shot from distance that the Monterrey keeper, Marcelo Barovero, probably should have saved.
The second half saw a resurgent Toluca dial up the pressure on the visitors, as Monterrey seemed unable to keep possession and were totally burned at the back. Toluca scored their second goal on yet another shot that Barovero probably should have gotten his hands on.
Toluca then scored their third after Felipe Pardo beat the offside trap, appeared to be fouled in the box by Barovero, and then slotted home his second goal in less than three minutes. Barovero had gone out to try and stop the chance, thrown himself at the feet of Pardo and failed to get the ball, and Pardo simply stepped over the keeper and put the ball away. The goal completely and totally summed up Barovero’s day in goal, as his efforts were poor after being let down by the defense in front of him.
Rodolfo Pizarro scored a golazo in the 71st minute, but his moment of brillance was wasted as Monterrey allowed yet two more goals. as the match ended with the humiliating 5-1 scoreline.
As good as the team looked in the CCL, the exact opposite happened today on the road. Monterrey’s road form has been a concern during the Clausura, and the pressure on Diego Alonso will only increase after this dismal performance. Monterrey simply does not lose 5-1 to anyone, much less to a team outside of the Liguilla. And yes, Toluca has an altitude advantage, but that doesn’t excuse the rather poor decision making and even worse performance from Barovero.
Also worrying was the attempt at rotation saw Rogelio Funes Mori start on the bench, only to be introduced along with Pizarro at the hour mark in a failed effort to get back into the match, with Rayados only trailing 1-0 at that point. Angel Zaldivar was once again anonymous and real questions have to be asked about the lineup decisions for Alonso. Something is not right with Monterrey right now, and it was on full display today.