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Liga MX Femenil 2021 Apertura Final match preview: Monterrey vs. Tigres UANL

Rayadas hosts Tigres in the first leg of the 2021 Grita México Final.

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Aerial view of the BBVA Bancomer Stadium prior the second leg of the Torneo Apertura 2017 Liga MX final between Monterrey and Tigres UANL at BBVA Bancomer Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Monterrey, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Game: Club de Fútbol Monterrey Femenil vs. Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Femenil

Date: Friday, December 17th

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: Aldo Ballesteros Barba, AR1: Elva Gutiérrez Martínez, AR2: Viridiana Aglaeth Flores Ayala, 4TH: Itzel Hernández Fuentes

Television: United States - FOX Deportes; Mexico - FOX Sports; Belize - FOX Sports 2; Costa Rica - FOX Sports 2; Dominican Republic - FOX Sports 2; El Salvador - FOX Sports 2; Guatemala - FOX Sports 2; Honduras - FOX Sports 2; Nicaragua - FOX Sports 2; Panama - FOX Sports 2; Venezuela - FOX Sports 2

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Tigres holds the all time record with ten wins to Rayadas’ six, with seven draws between the two. Tigres has beaten Monterrey for three of its four championships, while Monterrey’s lone win came against Tigres. In their match this season, Tigres won by a 2-1 score at El Volcán,

Desirée Monsiváis of Monterrey celebrates after scoring her team’s first goal during a match between Queretaro and Monterrey as part of Liga MX Femenil Torneo Apertura 2021 at La Corregidora Stadium on July 16, 2021 in Queretaro, Mexico.
Desirée Monsiváis holds the league’s goalscoring record with 110, including two that put her team past Tijuana in the first round of the Liguilla.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

For the sixth time, Tigres and Monterrey will face off to determine who will be crowned the eighth Liga MX Femenil champion. Monterrey will host the first leg in El Gigante de Acero before the teams head the roughly 20 minute drive north to El Volcán.

Monterrey hosts the first leg after getting past both Tijuana and Atlas by virtue of being the higher seed during the regular season. In fairness to Rayadas, both Tijuana and Atlas were very good teams that pushed Monterrey to improve, something that can’t be understated in a short tournament series like the Liguilla.

Monterrey has a wealth of talent from front to back. Their defense, anchored by goalkeeper Alex Godínez, is compact and adept at forcing teams to make bad passes and take poor shots. They did well to contain Tijuana forward Renae Cuéllar and right wing Angelina Hix by playing a 4-3-3, dropping their midfielders back to help the back line especially against Hix. They were able to do the same against Atlas, keeping Alison González fairly well shackled while still dealing effectively with Fabiola Ibarra on the left wing and Adriana “Boyi” Iturbide on the right.

Up top they have been using Aylin Aviléz and Diana Evangelista as inside forwards on the left and right respectively, feeding into and off of “La Arquitecta de Gol” Desirée Monsivás. The leading goalscorer in Liga MX Femenil history, Monsiváis has put this team on her back to get them this far in the Liguilla, scoring both goals against Tijuana to help them advance and being critical parts of both goals against Atlas.

Stephany Mayor of Tigres celebrates after scoring the third goal of his team during the match between Tigres and Necaxa as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX Femenil at Universitario Stadium on August 2, 2021 in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Stephany Mayor has 49 goals in her four seasons with Tigres, including three so far in the Liguilla.
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Tigres however has been a dominant force all season long, but sometimes it’s easy to blow past just how dominant they have been. This past season they went 15-2-0 throughout the regular season and then proceeded to win three of their four Liguilla games by 4-0 scorelines. The lone blemish was a 2-1 loss was against Club América at Estadio Azteca, which was Tigres’ first loss in 40 games. During the regular season they scored a league best 52 goals while allowing a league low seven over the seventeen games.

Like Monterrey, they are absolutely stacked from top to bottom and have the depth as well. When goalkeeper Ceci Santiago was forced to miss the start of the Liguilla due to an injury picked up against Santos in the final match of the regular season they fell back to Ofelia Solís, their starting goalkeeper for three of their four championship, came in and didn’t miss a beat. When 2020 Guard1anes leading goalscorer Katty “Killer” Martínez went out injured in Week 13, they had the depth to re-arrange their formation and allow Stephany Mayor freedom as the lone striker with Jackie Ovalle on the left and Belén Cruz and María Sánchez on the right.

Tigres is clinical on the counterattack, with Mayor, Cruz, Sánchez, Ovalle, Cristina Ferral, and the recently returned Martínez giving Tigres plenty of options on the attacking end. They are patient when in possession of the ball, and won’t easily fall for a lot of Monterrey’s sleight-of-hand with passing lanes looking open long enough to bait someone into passing into it before the ball is picked off.

This should be a good series between two teams that I’d easily rank in the top ten in the Americas. On top of the quality of the players and the intriguing tactical matchups will be two environments that are unrivaled. Both Rayadas and Tigres bring the fans, with Tigres announcing that all of the roughly 40,000 tickets had been sold in 50 minutes. While we may have seen this matchup before, with these teams and fans we may not have seen anything just yet.