Monterrey were one of the best teams in the Liga MX last season, but they only managed to grab the Apertura Cup. They failed to win a league title last season, and they will be eager to do so this year. They will now start their season with an away match against Pachuca on Saturday. Pachuca are coming off a really tough run over the past couple of seasons, as they failed to make the playoffs for the third time in the last four tournaments.
Date/Time: 7-21-2018, 20:00 EDT
Spread: Monterrey +0.0
Total: 2.5 Goals
Pachuca have been pretty mediocre over the past years, and that didn’t change at all last season. They were not very good in the Apertura as they finished at the 12th spot of the league table (5-8-4) with 19 points. They were slightly improved at the Clausura, as they finished at the 9th spot with 23 points (6-6-5), just one point behind the playoffs. Besides winning the 2016 Clausura, Pachuca have little to show in the past years. Pachuca made very few moves in the transfer market, bringing in Barreiro and Elbis, while Tapias and Perez returned from solid loan spells.
On the other hand, Monterrey took advantage of their great presence at home (8-0-1) in the Apertura, and topped the league table. They eliminated Atlas and Monarcas before clashing against city rivals Tigres in the finals, where they lost by 3-2. Even so, that 2nd spot granted them a ticket to the 2019 CONACAF Champions League. They were equally good in the Clausura, where they finished at the 3rd spot (8-4-5). But suffered a tough elimination in the first round of the playoffs against Club Tijuana (3-2). Pabon, Funes Mori and Hurtado were firing in all cylinders up front, and they all remained at the roster. Monterrey swapped goalkeepers with Necaxa, sending Gonzales in exchange for Barrovero. But more importantly they got Pizarro (Guadalajara) and Gallardo (Pumas) in order to strengthen the midfield.
Pachuca are simply unable to improve their defense, and that showed in their recent friendlies where they conceded six (1-2-0). Monterrey have been really good last season, despite not winning any of the league titles.
Monterrey have also been greatly improved in the transfer window, and they will surely be looking for a title this season. They have won each of the last four matches against Pachuca, but Pachuca have been excellent as hosts (10-4-9). I will go with the better of the two teams here.
Liga MX Pachuca vs Monterrey Prediction: Monterrey +0.0 (-111)
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