Insipid Monterrey edges FC Cincinnati as Vazquez scores against former team

Liga MX leaders draw first blood in Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16 series
Brandon Vazquez tormented his former team, scoring the lone goal in Thursday's Concacaf Champions Cup match to give Monterrey a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati.
Brandon Vazquez tormented his former team, scoring the lone goal in Thursday's Concacaf Champions Cup match to give Monterrey a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati. / Jam Media/GettyImages

All it took was a single moment of inspiration for Monterrey to defeat FC Cincinnati in a Concacaf Champions Cup contest.

And it’s a good thing that was enough because the Rayados did little else on the night.

Playing on the road in the first leg of the Round of 16 series, Monterrey’s attitude could best be described as casual morphing into careless. The Rayados – the lone remaining unbeaten team in Liga MX after 10 games – displayed an uncharacteristic lack of discipline, particularly with regard to tactical shape, and the hosts found space to exploit.

FC Cincinnati took advantage of the sloppiness, several times getting behind the Monterrey back line. Unfortunately for the MLS side, poor finishing ruined good scoring chances 

Cincy was also impatient at times and that led to offside calls. A first half goal was ruled out for just that infraction when Corey Baird lost track of his position before depositing the ball in the net. The side judge quickly raised his flag and the hosts’ celebration was cut short.

Shortly thereafter, Monterrey forward Brandon Vazquez burned his former mates.

Vazquez – FC Cincinnati’s all-time leading scorer – joined the Rayados in January and has settled in rapidly, scoring 7 goals in his first 11 games with the Liga MX giants.

In minute 24, left winger Jesús Gallardo dribbled diagonally toward the box before zipping a pass to Maxi Meza on the right wing. Meza squared to Vazquez who settled with one touch, spun and fired a right-footer that squirted under goalie Roman Celentano.

Even after taking the lead, the Rayados remained uninspired, too often lacking hustle which led to turnovers because passers were anticipating movement.

The hosts got a break in minute 70’ when Rodrigo Aguirre was shown a red after a VAR review that showed the Monterrey sub throwing a forearm during a stoppage in play.

The Rayados opted for stalling tactics in hopes of killing off time, but that led to a loss of concentration and new opportunities for Cincinnati.

In minute 79, Luciano Acosta led a rush, cutting through the Monterrey defense like a hot knife through butter and finding Sergio Santos all alone in front of goal. Santos took a first-time shot only to see Esteban Andrade block it with his big right mitt.

The guests nearly doubled their lead when sub Luis Romo sprung Germán Berterame down the middle with a nifty lead pass but Celentano was up to the challenge, getting just enough of the ball to guide it around his right post.


Monterrey managed to see out the game after that and the series will shift to Mexico for the return match next Thursday. Before they meet again for the second leg, the Liga MX leaders will host Mazatlán FC while FC Cincinnati – sixth place in MLS’ Eastern Conference – welcomes DC United to TQL Stadium.