After Monterrey surprisingly fell short in the Liga MX final last month, the club begins the Clausura on Saturday with a home match against Morelia.
The game at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer will be a playoff rematch, after Rayados took care of Monarcas in the Apertura semifinals by a 5-0 aggregate scoreline.
Rayados dominated Liga MX in the Apertura, finishing the regular season in first place, and Antonio Mohamed's side will be expected to finish right near the top once again in the Clausura.
|Game||Monterrey vs Morelia|
|Date||Saturday, January 6|
|Time||8:00 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
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SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Gonzalez, Carrizo, Resendez|
|Defenders||Montes, Basanta, Sanchez, Portales, Vasquez, Alvarez, Vangioni, Velarde, Castillo, Medina, Juarez|
|Midfielders||Molina, Ortiz, Zavala, J. Gonzalez, Amaya, Sanchez, A. Gonzalez, Urretaviscaya, Hurtado|
|Forwards||Funes Mori, Pabon, Benitez, Villa, Cruz|
Mohamed's side will have most of its key contributors back for the Clausura, with Neri Cardozo the most significant name to depart the club.
The club's most significant offseason acquisition was Jonathan Urretaviscaya, who arrives from Pachuca and will be expected to bolster the Rayados attack from a wide midfield position.
Potential starting XI: Gonzalez; Basanta, Montes, Sanchez, Medina; Gonzalez, Molina, Urretaviscaya, Hurtado; Funes Mori, Pabon.
|Goalkeepers||Malagon, Urbina, Sosa|
|Defenders||Achilier, Loeschbor, Vegas, Valadez, Rodriguez, Chavez, Guzman|
|Midfielders||Meraz, Osuna, Rodríguez, Rocha, Millar, Valdes, Reyes, Cuero, Vilchis, Sepulveda, Zarate, Polo, Lezcano|
|Forwards||Sandoval, Ruidiaz, Ortiz, Sansores|
Monarcas return much of the same side from the Apertura, when they finished in fourth place and defeated Toluca in the Liguilla quarterfinals, before falling to Monterrey in the semifinal.
Manager Roberto Hernandez will not have new signing Ray Sandoval available, as the Peruvian striker's paperwork has not gone through yet following his move from Sporting Cristal in Peru.
Potential starting XI: Sosa; Vegas, Rodriguez, Achilier, Guzman; Millar, Osuna; Lezcano, Valdes, Sepulveda; Ruidiaz.
Rayados were dealt a body blow in the Apertura final against city rivals Tigres, losing 2-1 at home in the second leg to fall to a heartbreaking 3-2 aggregate defeat.
Mohamed's side did pick up a consolation prize a couple weeks later, defeating Pachuca to lift the Copa MX, but the Argentine manager enters the Clausura under pressure to deliver the title that evaded his side last month.
Monterrey is positioned well to start the season off on the right foot, facing a Morelia side that will not have forgotten the 4-0 defeat it suffered in the Apertura semifinal second leg at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer just a month ago.
Rayados return nearly their entire squad from last season, including top scorer Aviles Hurtado. The Colombian will be looking to erase some painful memories in the Clausura, after his late penalty miss against Tigres cost his side an opportunity to take last month's final into extra time.
Morelia has also put a premium on continuity, returned most of the squad that finished fourth in the Apertura.
As usual, Monarcas will be counting on Raul Ruidiaz to deliver the goals. The Peruvian netted 11 times for his side in the Apertura, easily leading the team in scoring.