Breaking Down Monterrey vs. Santos Laguna with the Chalkboard
Monterrey pulled off a remarkable comeback in which four second half goals secured a 4-2 victory over Santos Laguna.
Once again, Monterrey are champions of CONCACAF and will head to Morocco to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup.
First, the attacking third for Monterrey; specifically, shots.
The Rayados were persistent in their pursuit of goals. On the evening, they were able to fire off 15 total shots. Of the 15, eight reached the target, four missed and three were blocked.
Most telling, though, is where on the pitch they uncorked their shots from. All but six of the 15 came inside the box. And even the six that originated from outside the box were not from too deep a distance. Four of those efforts were right along the edge of the area.
That's over half of their total from highly dangerous areas.
Perhaps even more illuminating is that the majority of their attempts came from the center of the pitch.
In terms of their goals, three of their four goals were from just about 12 yards away and were located right around the penalty stripe. It's no wonder the Rayados were able to score in such quick succession (three goals in six minutes): it's hard to miss from such appetizing areas.
Onto the middle third and Monterrey's effectiveness in distribution.
It may have been their ability to string passes together and win the ball so frequently in the most contested part of the field that afforded them opportunities to attack in numbers.
The Rayados connected on 83 percent of their 296 total midfield third pass attempts.
Their midfield superiority extended to winning the ball, as well. There were 53 ball recoveries in this area of the pitch, Monterrey snatched up 36 of them. And as for interceptions, quite a significant difference, here, as Santos only nabbed two to Monterrey's 14.
It makes sense that Santos Laguna had a hard time completing passes in the middle third of the park with such an active Monterrey side, just 69 connected of their 210 attempted.
Not too much to deal with in the defensive third for the Rayados as the majority of shots taken by Santos came from outside the box. Only three shots inside the box total, two of which were goals.
They might want to consider defending crosses with more urgency in the future. Santos Laguna only attempted 12 crosses, and were able to find a teammate on five of these occasions, including a goal for Felipe Baloy.
The competition only gets stiffer from here on out for Monterrey as they prepare to face the best clubs from around the world. How they fare could provide insight into the footballing level of CONCACAF. It will be a fun ride, regardless of how they do.
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