Soccer  > General Soccer  > REVIEW: Monterrey bucks CCL fourth-round trend
September 24, 2010, 06:33 PM
By Giovanni Savarese Guest Analyst

The fourth round of the CONCACAF Champions League was not positive for Mexican teams - except for the Rayados of Monterrey, who overcame an early scare to win their fourth straight game.

It was a continuation of the Nuevo Leon side's Mexican league form, where it is unbeaten in eight straight and has achieved the third-best record behind fellow Champions League rivals Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna.

Coach Victor Manuel Vucetich expressed satisfaction about the way his squad has managed to maintain a good level in both the Mexican championship and Champions League.

But in its last outing Wednesday at the Tecnol??gico of Nuevo Le??n against the Seattle Sounders, he must be especially thankful for "Chupete" Suazo, whose second-half entry into the game turned a two-goal deficit into a 3-2 victory.

Ten minutes after Chilean's substitution in the 63rd minute, Monterrey scored and sparked a rally that squashed Seattle's flirtation with ending Major League Soccer's 21-game winless streak in Mexico in the CONCACAF club championship.

The crowd of nearly 20,000 witnessed a very animated encounter, with back-and-forth play and one where both teams created innumerable opportunities throughout the game.

Seattle started quickly, taking the lead in the 28th minute when Michael Fucito, who was able to turn around at full speed, fired a shot that Sergio Perez was only able to get a foot to and deflect it past his own keeper.

Monterrey's attempts to attack from different fronts all were thwarted by Seattle keeper Terry Boss, who was making only his second appearance in the Champions League and has played only once in Major League Soccer this season.

Seattle looked to be in control when Fucito finished a great build up initiated by Uruguayan Fern??ndez and Nate Jaqua in the 44th minute.

At halftime though, Vucetich made the necessary adjustments and Monterrey showed more dynamism from the first minute. The insertion of Neri Cardozo to replace Duilio Davino was fundamental, but it was not until Suazo entered the game that the Rayados really came to life.

In essence, the Chilean took the team on his shoulders and in a matter of four minutes changed the momentum.

The first goal in the 73rd minute resulted from a shot by Suazo that Boss was able to stop, but not hold, enabling Aldo De Nigris to head in the rebound.

Suazo then scored one of his own, taking a clever heeled pass from De Nigris and finishing to equalize -- elevating the adrenalin in the stadium.

Then, Suazo completed his magical night in the 78th. He capitalized on an error to steal the ball near midfield and raced toward Boss, who came off his line and tripped the Chilean that resulted in a penalty. Luis P??rez converted and Monterrey had completed its comeback.

The victory virtually assures Monterrey or reaching the quarterfinals, leaving it to focus on the Mexican championship.

Unlike the Rayados, however, Santos, Cruz Azul and Toluca weren't as fortunate. Santos lost 1-0 to the Columbus Crew, which climbed atop Group B with nine points - two ahead of Santos.

Cruz Azul drew 0-0 against Toronto FC, only the third time an MLS team has been able to earn as much as a point in Mexico in the CONCACAF club championship.

That was also a boon for Real Salt Lake, which beat ??rabe Unido 3-2 to claim MLS' first victory in Panama in the Champions League and climbed past Cruz Azul atop Group A.

Toluca probably suffered the worst result, losing to Olimpia 2-1 in San Pedro Sula, and falling into a virtual tie with the Honduran side for first place in Group D.

Seattle's loss virtually eliminated it, and Joe Public also fell to the brink of ouster with its 3-2 loss at home to Municipal.

Next week probably will be most important, since it likely will see the first teams to be guaranteed advancement to the quarterfinals - and the first teams to be mathematically eliminated.


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