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CONCACAF Champions League Finals - Real Salt Lake vs. Monterrey - The midfield


OK folks here is part three as we look at the midfields for RSL and Monterrey.  Part 1 was keepersPart 2 was defenders and so once again it is my pleasure to bring you some insight to Monterrey via Kevin McCauley of FMFState of Mind:

Like Real Salt Lake, Monterrey has depth in midfield, but there is a first choice starting group in place at the moment. Neri Cardozo is probably the first name on the team sheet, and he's likely to play on the left. He does a fair bit of drifting inside and has actually been asked to start in the middle before, but I think he's most dangerous running at defenders from the left flank. Luis Perez, a versatile central midfielder, is the other automatic selection when healthy. If Monterrey want to get wildly aggressive, he can sometimes play as a deep lying playmaker, but more often than not he is the more attacking of two central midfielders in a 4-4-2 setup. He's a great passer, a threat to score goals, and a surprisingly competent tackler.

more thoughts after the jump:


The other spots are slightly up in the air. My guess is that Jesus Zavala, a giant player by the standards of Mexican football, will partner Perez in midfield and play a deeper, more defensive role than his partner. The right wing spot isn't set in stone, and it's been a battle between Walter Ayovi and Osvaldo Martinez. Martinez is certainly the more attacking option, and he's a very dangerous player. For some reason I cannot explain, he has not been first choice this season after a stellar last couple of years with Monterrey. Like Cardozo, he can also play in the middle if asked. Ayovi is no slouch going forward, but is very much a two-way player who is more noted for his work rate on the wing than he is for his creativity or goal-scoring ability.

Ayovi is an extremely versatile player, and where he plays could dictate Victor Manuel Vucitich's approach to this game. He's usually first choice on the right wing, but he has also played some defensive midfielder, right back, left back, and left midfield in the past. He could play as a right back behind Martinez if Vucetich wants to play a very attacking lineup. The crossing ability of Will Johnson should be the least of Monterrey's concerns, so while this is unlikely, it isn't an inherently stupid idea.

One wild card is club captain Jesus Arellano. The 37 year old is an extreme longshot to play, but even though he's lost a step or three, the skills that he has never deteriorate.

My look at the RSL midfield will be up soon on FMF State of Mind