Last season’s regular season winners Cruz Azul travel to Nuevo Leon on Saturday evening to face the unpredictable Rayados in week five of the 2014 Apertura.
Kickoff at the Estadio Tecnologico in Monterrey is scheduled for 16th July 2014 at 8:00pm EST / 5:00pm PST. The game will be shown live in the USA on Univision Deportes Network.
Both sides are in need of a win; Monterrey need to bounce back from their shock 2-1 loss to Veracruz in week four, while Cruz Azul need to build on their first win of the season and try to develop some momentum for the coming weeks.
Monterrey were cruising and utterly dominant for the opening seventy five minutes against Veracruz, but some poor defending and a wonder goal from Daniel Villalba combined to consign the side to their first defeat of the season. The result led to inevitable questions about Monterrey’s ability to sustain a genuine Liguilla challenge. They looked good against Leones Negros and Pachuca in weeks one and two, but a draw with Santos Laguna and a defeat against Correcaminos UAT in the Copa MX means they are without a win in three outings.
To add to their worries, Humberto Suazo left the pitch injured last weekend and will miss this weekend’s fixture - though Dorlan Pabon’s continued fine form means they will still carry a dangerous attacking threat.
Cruz Azul have been highly unimpressive so far this season following their fantastic Clausura campaign. They failed to win any of their opening three games, and only picked up their first three points of the season in week four after a laboured 1-0 win over an underwhelming Puebla side.
In their last eight competitive games they have only managed to score more than one goal on a single occasion - a situation not helped by the ongoing speculation around a possible European transfer for leading creative force Marco Fabian. A possible remedy lies in new signing Anibal Zurdo - the forward is available again after being sent off twenty minutes into his debut against Veracruz in week three.
The two teams drew this fixture 0-0 in January, while Cruz Azul won 1-0 in Mexico City last July thanks to a Rogelio Chavez penalty. The head-to-head is not kind to Rayados; it’s March 2011 since they last won, emerging as 2-1 victors from a CONCACAF Champions League tie at the Estadio Tecnologico.