Game: Club de Fútbol Monterrey Femenil vs. Club Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Femenil
Date: Friday, December 11th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, N.L.)
Referees: REF: Francia Maria Gonzalez Martinez, AR1: Yudilia Carolina Briones Covarrubias, AR2: Alma Karen Martínez Vargas, 4TH: Priscila Eritzel Pérez Borja, Asesor: Jesús Omar Torres Noguez
The two best teams in women’s soccer in Mexico will face off for the fourth time to be crowned Liga MX Femenil champions as Rayadas host Tigres in the Ida leg of the Final. Tigres won the 2018 Clausura on penalties and the 2019 Clausura 3-2 on aggregate before Rayadas won 2-1 on aggregate in the 2019 Apertura. Since there was no 2020 Clausura, Rayadas are the reigning champions.
After a 3-1 defeat in Week 17 against Atlas, Héctor Bérrera’s Rayadas team seems more motivated than ever to become repeat champions. They defeated sixth seed Pumas 5-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals and third seed América 7-3 on aggregate in the semifinals. Monterrey plays a basic 4-4-2 and likes to quickly transition from defense to offense, often relying on Diana García’s ability to get the ball up to Christina Burkenroad, Desireé Monsiváis, or Diana Evangelista. While it was Monsiváis and Burkenroad doing most of the scoring during the regular season with thirteen and nine goals respectively, Evangelista’s three goals during the semifinals ties her with Monsiváis during the Liguilla.
Rayadas isn’t all offense though. Goalkeeper Alejandría Godínez has been the number one for Rayadas during the Liguilla, but she and Claudia Lozoya are really a 1A and 1B setup in goal. Both are strong and organize their defenses well. Captain Rebeca Bernal is one of the best center backs in the game, and has lead one of the best units in the game in allowing just 19 goals during the regular season and just four goals in the Liguilla.
As good as Rayadas is, Tigres might be even better. They finished the regular season on top of the overall table, scoring a league best 50 goals in 17 games. They allowed a league low 11 goals, and had the league’s top goalscorer in Katty Martínez, who scored 18 goals in 16 games (she missed the first match with COVID-19). Tigres beat Pachuca 6-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals and beat Querétaro 4-0 in the semifinals.
Martínez has certainly lived up to her “Katty Killer” moniker in the Liguilla as well, leading all goalscorers with four. But she’s not the only dangerous player up top, with Stefany Mayor ending the regular season with ten goals and tacking on two in the Liguilla.
Tigres’s style of play is very pass-heavy, usually going from Jackie Ovalle and Belén Cruz on the wings in toward Martínez and Mayor. In the Liguilla, all five of the top five most accurate passers are Tigres players (Natalia Villareal with 203, Liliana Mercado with 179, Cristina Ferral with 160, Nancy Antonio with 158, and Bianca Sierra with 151). Tigres are patient on the ball but can still explode on the counterattack if the situation warrants.
Long-time followers of the league may be sick of seeing the Clásico Regiomontano matchup in the Final for the fourth time out of the six the league has had since its inception, but even for those most jaded fans this should be an entertaining series. The two best teams in the country (and perhaps the entire region) with contrasting styles of play going head-to-head for the right to have their names engraved on a trophy is something to celebrate and showcase. While the first match won’t be shown legally in the US, the second leg will be available without having to find a dodgy stream.