Sporting Kansas City and Club de Futbol Monterrey will meet in the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League semifinals. Sporting will travel to Mexico for the first leg of the aggregate-goal series on April 4 before hosting the decisive second leg at Children's Mercy Park on April 11 (tickets on sale now). In the buildup to this clash, SportingKC.com is providing updates on the Rayados as part of the site’s Monitoring Monterrey series.
After 11 straight weeks of Liga MX action since opening the club's Clausura campaign on Jan. 5, CF Monterrey used the first international break of the year to return north of the border to face another MLS opponent with an exhibition match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday that came 10 days after the Rayados ended Atlanta United's Champions League run at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Head coach Diego Alonso fielded a first choice starting lineup, supplemented by nine second-half substitutions, and prevailed with a 2-1 victory at Avaya Stadium in a feisty friendly that featured 39 fouls. Rogelio Funes Mori, the club's leading scorer with eight goals in Liga MX this year, opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Argentine World Cup veteran Maximiliano Meza struck for the game-winning goal in the 25th minute.
Monterrey was missing six players on international duty with Mexican national teams during the FIFA window and a seventh, Celso Ortiz, joined the Paraguay Men's National Team just down the road in Santa Clara following his 45-minute shift in Saturday's match.
CF MONTERREY INTERNATIONALS
Mexico 3, Chile 1 (March 22 in San Diego): Jesus Gallardo (started and played 90 minutes), Miguel Layun (90th minute substitute), Rodolfo Pizarro (started and played 84 minutes with an assist) and Carlos Rodriguez (started and played 90 minutes in international debut) all featured for El Tri in Tata Martino's inaugural match as manager of Mexico.
Mexico 4, Paraguay 2 (March 26 in Santa Clara): Miguel Layun (started and played 90 minutes), Cesar Montes (73rd minute substitute) and Celso Ortiz (68th minute substitute) all earned caps on Tuesday in the final audition before this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup.
Mexico U-20's: Former U.S. youth international and Liga MX Best XI selection Jonathan Gonzalez started for the Mexico Under-20 Men's National Team in a 3-2 loss at the Netherlands on March 22 and started again in a 4-0 loss versus the Czech Republic on Monday in Spain.