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Rayados capitalize on self-destructing Querétaro; win 3rd straight

Victor Manuel Vucetich’s side got an important 0-3 road victory against a Gallos team destined to finish last.

Queretaro v Monterrey - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Facing what is all but a Liga de Expansión squad, Rayados literally walked away from La Corregidora with a 0-3 victory yesterday night. Within the first 15 minutes, Rayados had two clear opportunities (one botched by Pizarro inside the six-yard box and the other a powerful shot by Funes Mori blocked by Aguerre). After that, Monterrey relaxed, sat back, and enjoyed the show by allowing the home squad to have the game initiative. Just one problem; Gallos can’t put together a complete play.

After their initial charge, Rayados walked around the pitch, followed a Querétaro team who passed the ball from side to side, ending in a bad pass or a stolen ball by Rayados’ defense. The only dangerous approach by Gerk’s squad came in the 38th minute from a set piece, Pablo Barrera sent in a cross that was deflected by a defender and reached Kevin Escamilla’s head who nearly put the ball over the line, had it not been for the outstretched reach of Cárdenas. The play ended in an offside call anyway, but it didn’t get closer than that for the home team.

Just 5 minutes later, a high, long ball with no intention was sent into Querétaro’s half by Erick Aguirre, Instead of LB Gabriel Rojas pressing Poncho González and competing for the air ball, he and the others retreated, leaving Poncho wide open to comfortably head the ball backward to a Funes Mori in stride, and upon bad timing by Aguerre, the Argentine striker simply poked the ball to the side to then put it away with a wide open goal.

After coming out with a little intensity to start the second half, that’s really all you can say about Gerk’s side. A header by Leo Sequeira off a corner kick headed straight to Cárdenas’ hands and a mistake by RB Stefan Medina nearly allowed Sepúlveda to even things up, and that was it. Not much danger from those plays anyhow. And from there, it all went further downhill. A good trick move by Pizarro and Funes Mori left Germán Berterame wide open, and the Argentine fired a missile to the bottom left corner of Aguerre’s goal to double the lead.

To add insult to injury for the home side, after a good defensive play on Funes Mori, CB Jordan Silva turned toward the penalty box and sent an ill-advised pass that ended directly in Maxi Meza’s boots. He fired a shot which Aguerre deflected well, but with the rebound falling to a wide open Gallardo, the lefty sealed it with the 0-3.

The result leaves Querétaro dead last with 1 point in four matches and a -6 goal difference. A franchise forced upon its current owner (Grupo Caliente), for sale, and with little to no investment in at least giving them a fighting chance this season. It is in all but its official category, a second tier club (or Liga de Expansión in Mexico). With Gerk hardly to blame, the quality of these players would make this a near impossible challenge for any head coach. It’ll be a long few months for Gallos. They can only hope there is a serious investor around the corner willing to take on this mess of a franchise.

As for Monterrey, it’s their third win in a row, and it makes them the sole league-leaders (momentarily). However, I’m still not sold on Vucetich and company. While the America victory was impressive, the Atlético San Luis and Querétaro road wins leave much to be desired on both ends, apart from them not being the toughest squads to overcome in the league. Their next three matches will undoubtedly give us a better idea of this club’s reality (vs. Puebla, @ Pumas, vs. León). Many holes are still easily observed in their tactical scheme (mostly on defense) and their lack of intensity during certain periods makes them hard to trust, despite Rayados being a natural title contender due to their talent-filled roster.