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Vincent Janssen’s run with Rayados: BOOM or BUST?

Janssen has had a big impact in his short time in the league

Pumas UNAM v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Dutch soccer star Vincent Janssen arrived to Rayados de Monterrey the week after the start of the Apertura 2019. He was brought in to help fire up an offense where other than Rogelio Funes Mori, there was no other true striker. And after the disappointing play displayed by the Argentine striker in both series vs. Tigres to close out the previous soccer season, Duilio Davino knew he had to have another option in case that happened again.

And so, Janssen, 25, was signed with an injury that would cause him to miss the team’s next three games, but by Week 5 he was making his debut with La Pandilla. By his second game, vs. Santos he scored his first goal with the team. And you could immediately tell he was on a different level of play as he took possession of the ball, drove it forward, showed excellent passing skills, an expert at one-touching the ball. And when Rayados lose the ball, he is the fiercest and first defender, as he runs toward his rivals with an intensity that can instantly make him a beloved fan favorite.

He would go on to score only one more goal the rest of the season, but you could tell he was slowly getting into rhythm and his initial injury was a thing of the past, which was the priority, because you had that feeling that he could be a defining factor in the playoffs, if only he could avoid injuries and make it that far. And that’s his main nemesis, staying healthy. His health is the reason why he could’ve been considered a bust.

The playoffs arrived, and here is why Janssen has been a BOOM with Rayados thus far. He scored 3 goals in the playoffs’ 6 games. He scored twice in the Santos series and the defining goal vs. Necaxa in the semis’ first leg. But the most important role he played was in the final vs. America, and he didn’t even score a goal. In the first leg, He came on in the 56th minute of the game, and not only helped his team close out the game strong, but he should’ve scored the game winning header which was masterfully kept out by Ochoa. Two minutes later, Funes Mori would score on the unforgettable chilena.

In the second leg, after the entire Rayados team failed to show up in the first half, on came Janssen to begin the second half. And his most important play of the season (in my opinion) came at the 56th minute, when he took the ball at midfield, ran with it and dragged Benedetti to the 18-yard box. That play alone injected new life into Monterrey, and from there on out, the offense came alive, as they began to show their firepower and finish plays. Even in extra time, he had a one-touch pass back to Charly Rodriguez which ended up in Funes Mori firing over the crossbar, which should’ve been the championship goal. In the end, Monterrey ended up scoring 2 out of their 3 goals in the final when Janssen was in the game, and he played less than half of the entire series. That is no coincidence.

You can’t forget the penalty shootout, where he blasted his team’s first penalty straight to the back of the net, past a flying Memo Ochoa to give his team confidence and break the ice early on in the shootout. He is without a doubt the reason Rayados overcame the Estadio Azteca game. The entire face of the team changed the moment he stepped on the field.

It took less than a season to tell Janssen has the IT factor. He’s the kind of player that doesn’t have to score to help you win big, because his mere presence on the field always gives you an edge, especially when the game is on the line. He’s the kind of player that can sometimes go unnoticed, but when he’s not there, you notice. That’s what he was to Rayados last season and should continue to be next season if he can stay healthy. The Apertura 2019 championship alone has made the Janssen signing entirely worth it.