By Money Mike
Following their big win over FC Dallas in league play, the Seattle Sounders head south of the border to Mexico for Champions League play as they take on Monterrey tonight at 5pm. The match will of course be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and also streamed live on concacaf.com. Last year, these two sides faced each other in Group play, the first match was at CenturyLink Field where Monterrey came away with a 2-0 win on goals by Nery Cardozo and Aldo de Nigres. In their second meeting down in Mexico, the Sounders took a 2-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. In the second half Monterrey stormed back with 3 goals in a string of 10 minutes to win 3-2. Both teams are coming off impressive wins in their first match of this years group stage.
Who are C.F. Monterrey?
Monterrey were founded just after World War II ended. June 28, 1945, was the year the team was formed. A group of industrial businessmen led by Ramon Cardenas Coronado, Enrique Ayala Medina, Paul C. Probert, Rogelio Cantu Gomez and Miguel Margain Zozaya, decided to create the Club de Futbol Monterrey (That's the real name of the club).
They played their first professional game on August 19, 1945 against San Sebastian de Leon and came away with a 1-0 win. That joy quickly came to an end when Monterrey lost 6-0 to Montezuma, and then having the club's traveling bus involved in a tragic accident in the San Juan de los Lagos roads that would take the life's of many of the clubs players and would have a big impact on the surviving players. Some of the Mexican clubs loaned their players to Monterrey in order for them to continue on with their history, but the club struggled, losing 21 games in a row, conceding 121 goals and finishing dead last in the league. In 1946, after only one season, the club decided to fold in honor to the players passing.
It was until 1952 when the club resumed action thanks to Dr. Carlos Conseco. Monterrey enrolled in the second division four years later and would earn promotion in the top division. However, the joy was short lived when Monterrey finished dead last and were relegated into the second division. It didn't seem to bother them because they once again earn promotion to the top flight for the 1959-60 season which they have holed till date.
The club started the 1960s in bad shape, just avoiding relegation with 3 more points than Club Celaya. But a lot of people can tell they were getting better after finishing with a record 7 wins, 12 losses and 7 draws for a total of 21 points (I don't know what the point scale was, normally that record would equal 28 points on the current point scale). The next four seasons, Monterrey finished in the top 3, the top 5 but the rest of the way in the 60's they struggled again.
I wasn't until 1986 when Monterrey won their first league title in their history. Defeating Tampico-Madero on aggregate 3-2. They would add 3 more titles to their history later on. Winning the Clausura in 2003 and the Apatura in 2009 and 2010. And oh by the way, they're the defending CONCACAF Champions. Remember? They were able to get past Real Salt Lake in last years Champions League final. So while they're trying to defend their Apatura crown, they're also looking to defend their Champions League title.
What to look out for in this game:
- Due to the red card in the Sounders home match against Comunicaciones, Lamar Neagle will not play in tonight's match. Osvaldo Alonso is eligible to return though after serving a suspension in the first group stage match.
- With a lot of matches in these late stages of the season, fatigue will be a major factor for the Sounders. Expect Sigi to make a lot of changes in tonight's lineup. I'm hoping Kasey Keller gets the start tonight, but I think Sigi will go with backup goalkeeper Terry Boss. We'll see who he puts out there. Mike Fucito will definitely get the start tonight up front.
- I would also keep an eye on the field conditions. Most of the time the Sounders have been south of the border, the weather has been absolutely shitty and the field conditions have been god awful. Mexico gets a lot of warm weather. Lately about 100 degrees. But the weather and the conditions are always a big focus for me. Today the weather channel is saying 98 degrees with a chance of isolated thunder storms, so I think the Sounders will be dealing with more bad weather.