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Drilling down on: at Club América 2, Monterrey 3

Footballer Angel Reyna (C) of Monterrey

Footballer Angel Reyna (C) of Monterrey vies for the ball with America’s Erick Pimentel (L) and goalkeeper Moises Mu during a Mexican Clausura tournament match, in Mexico City, on April 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Man of the Match: After six tournaments and a scoring title with América, Monterrey’s Angel Reyna made his return to Estadio Azteca as a Rayado. In the 95th minute, he stole the show, adding to his assist on Monterrey’s first goal with a header from 12 yards out, beating Moises Muñoz for the game-winner.

Packaged for takeway:

  • Ninety-five minutes, you may ask? The match actually had 10 minutes of second half stoppage time, with a “fallen” spider cam forcing a prolonged delay moments after Humberto Suazo tied the match in the 47th. An overhead camera used for high-angle shots, the spider’s line had slacken such that it hovered about three feet above the pitch (just outside the Monterrey area). Presumably a member of the Azteca staff had to climb to the top of the stadium and flick-on the winch responsible for the line.
  • If it weren’t for Reyna and spider cam, Christian Benítez would have been the story, the Ecuadorian forward responsible for both goals:

    • The first saw Chucho pounce on the rebound of a Jesús Molina shot, scoring as Jonathan Orozco instinctively protected his five-hole, moving his left foot enough to allow Benítez to go far post. Molina’s effort’s likely to be overlooked, but the midfielder got up and through his 22-yard shot enough to make it impossible for Orozco to handle, the sudden dip at the end meaning the Monterrey `keeper couldn’t even get a decent punch on the ball.
    • Chucho’s second was an example of where zonal marking didn’t work. With Daniel Montenegro standing above a dead ball 35 yards dead-on from goal, Monterrey didn’t man mark as they normally would on a set piece. The lack of an angle hinted the piece wouldn’t be that dangerous, so they left their defense in tact, marked zonally, thus allowing Benítez to take his pick of defenders to match up against. Benítez - only 5'8" (at best) - picked out Severo Meza (Monterrey’s 5'8" right back) and was able to push him away as Montenegro delivered a bender to the left post. Chucho was left with an easy header from seven yards out. In the match’s closing minutes, after Monterrey had equalized, Victor Vucetich took off Meza for the slightly taller Sergio Perez.

  • Speaking of substitutes, América’s Miguel Herrera took off his best playmaker, Montenegro, in the 78th minute, making a defensive substitution. Did he know there would be 22 minutes left? It may have been a little early to take off one of your stars.
  • Having lost after being up 2-1 in the 84th minute, América will look at this as lost points. As well they should, but for us neutral observers, it’s just another reminder of Monterrey’s strengths. With standouts at every position, it’s easy to see why they’re favored to defend their CONCACAF Champions League title. The bigger question, should they do it, is whether the Rayados can do some actual damage at this year’s Club World Cup. With this team, they should be thinking finals.
  • With the win, Monterrey sits fourth in the Clausura on 25 points. América is three points back in fifth. Now 13 matches into the tournament, did we get a preview of a first round pairing come Liguilla?