Monterrey traveled south to take on Liga MX newcomers Atlético San Luis in San Luis Potosí for the first time in about six years. Atléti had been promoted after an impressive run in the Clausura 2019 of the Ascenso, where the team went undefeated after winning the Ascenso Apertura 2019 Liguilla over Dorados. They also beat Dorados in the final, preventing the need for a final match between the winner of the Apertura and Clausura to determine promotion.
There were a lot of reports about Monterrey fans having problems getting into the stadium, with stories of everything from tear gas to tickets being confiscated, but it still appears that a number of fans of Los Rayados were able to get into the stadium anyway.
The match started out with Monterrey looking a little timid on the attack, and it bit them early on, as Nico Sanchez and Marcelo Barovero somehow screwed up a short pass from the keeper, only to for Sanchez to get a card for pulling down the San Luis attacker on the edge of the box.
San Luis made the most of the error from Monterrey by scoring on the subsequent free kick. Barovero appeared to have the ball saved, but it bounced out of his arms and into the back of the net, sending most of the crowd at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras into celebration.
Barovero would come through with a good save to deny a San Luis attacker that was free on goal, but questions have to be raised about how the defense was once again exposed with ease.
Meanwhile, the offense looked to have been left in CDMX, as they were no where to be seen in the first half. Monterrey offered very little going forward, and seemed to rely on winning free kicks and corner kicks as a way of generating offense.
Los Rayados went into the second half down a goal, and while they increased their pressure, they still had difficultly figuring out how to break down the San Luis defense. Cesár Montes was subbed on for Dorlan Pabón in the 62nd minute, in order to push the fullbacks forward, with Montes staying back along with Nico Sanchez and Stefan Medina.
After more offensive futility, Mexico international Charly Rodriguez was brought on in the 82nd minute for Celso Oritz, replacing the more defensive oriented midfielder with the more creative Rodriguez. While he’s not exactly a threat to score a goal, Rodriguez will often do a great job of unlocking a defense and playing his teammates into good positions from which they can score.
Ángel Zaldívar was brought on late do to whatever is he does, and Los Rayados had a late chance cleared off the line by San Luis, but were still unable to break down the hosts. Monterrey now head home with zero points after two games, and a lot of fingers are set to be pointed at the head coach and at the players, with a lot of disgruntled fans upset and disappointed with the start that the team has had.
Perhaps we’ll see the club’s big acquisition in the offseason, former Tottenham Hotspur striker Vincent Jansson, in the upcoming Copa MX match against Leones Negros midweek at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer. Normally Copa MX matches aren’t taken that seriously by either the fans or the team, but after a couple of bad losses, Diego Alonso will need a victory on Wednesday, especially against a team that is in the Ascenso.
The Liga MX schedule doesn’t get any kinder for Monterrey, however, with Clausura 2019 Liguilla finalists Club León coming up on Saturday after the midweek Copa MX match. Hopefully the team will figure out a way to get it going at home.