After a weekend of no Liga MX due to the international break, both Monterrey teams are getting ready for the final push this season. Tigres currently sit in 4th place and only three points away from the top spot which Club Santos currently holds, while Rayados sit in the 13th spot and two points away from the final liguilla spot. Both teams are under great pressure due to the money spent on players and the passionate fan bases. These teams are always expected to not only get into the liguilla, but to compete for titles as well. With 5 games remaining it’s important both these teams get back on track and stay the course because this is one of the tightest liguilla races in recent memory. Only seven points separate the top spot from the final playoff spot (top 8 teams advance), and 6 teams are within three points from the final liguilla spot.
Tigres, currently in 4th place seem to have gotten back on track. After 5 straight ties and a home loss to Puebla, Tigres have won two straight games in convincing fashion. Before the international break Tigres hosted Santos which in that moment where top of the table. Tigres dominated that game from start to finish with a resounding 4-0 victory. After only scoring 1 goal in each of the last 5 games, the Tigres high-powered offense woke up and have scored 6 goals in the last two games. Next up for Tigres was a trip to last place Veracruz. Tigres are always a different team when away from “El Universitario” and most teams struggle when visiting Veracruz. However, a controversial 3-1 win by Tigres over Veracruz due to the ongoing Veracruz discord and protest keeps the felines’ current form intact to stay in the top 8 spots.
In contrast, Rayados, there is no way to deny it or to put it any other way but Monterrey are a mess right now. This team came into the season with really high hopes after winning the CONCACAF Champions League the previous season. While winning the Champions League was nice, Rayados main goal is to win another league title to keep up with cross town rivals Tigres. Currently Tigres have 7 league titles compared to only 4 for Rayados. Rayados haven’t won a league title in a little over 10 years and the fan base is getting impatient with the front office.
Rayados have struggled most of the season but managed to stay in the liguilla fight up until two weeks ago when they dropped the final two games before the international break. The loss in the Clasico Regio cost Diego Alonso his job as the Rayados manager not so much for the loss but the way they lost that game. The team had no fire and they needed to win that game against a weak Tigres team that was struggling to score goals. Since that game Tigres has ascended and Rayados have lost positions falling to 13th.
During the break Rayados signed manager Antonio “El Turco” Mohamed once again to try to get Rayados back on track and into the playoffs. This is Mohamed’s second stint with the regio club in which he guided them to 2 Liga MX finals but lost both of them (Pachuca and Tigres respectively). Mohamed wasn’t the first option as Rayados tried to lure Matias Almeyda away from the San Jose Earthquakes. El Turco always seems to get the most out of his players and he will need to do that if he wants to continue on after this season. During his presentation to the media Mohamed said, “Monterrey has the tools to beat any team in the league”. He also made a bold statement by saying “I have no doubt (Rayados) will qualify for the liguilla and be a title contender.” Up next for Rayados was a home game against Chivas which was Mohamed’s first game in charge. This was a game Rayados could win but had to settle for a draw.