MONTERREY, Mexico – If you listen to Monterrey manager Víctor Manuel Vucetich, there was only one team on the field on Wednesday night in the 2-2 draw between the Mexican champs and Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals.
“It was a real good game by us,” Vucetich said in his postgame press conference. “We did enough to win the game. We gave the effort. We made the game. We also made a few errors. But nonetheless, it makes me feel good to know how Salt Lake plays.”
Apparently allowing RSL to score two road goals and watching numerous Monterrey attacks get extinguished by the MLS club’s back line has fueled Vucetich with hope going into the return leg next week at Rio Tinto Stadium (April 27, 10 pm ET; FOX Soccer).
“We know exactly what their movements are and what their characteristics are,” the veteran coach said about Real Salt Lake. “With the way we played today, we’re confident of getting a good result over there [at Rio Tinto].”
But it’s not just the fact that Vucetich thought his team was superior in a match in which they were outplayed by RSL in the first half, but he seemingly went out of his way to give very little credit to RSL, except to say they had “interesting players.”
[inline_node:334420]“We committed errors that cost us goals,” the Mexican manager said. “Really, they didn’t have any chances except for one from [Álvaro] Saborío that Jonathan [Orozco] saved. But aside from this, the opportunities were few.
“They played the game they wanted. They dirtied the game a lot. But that’s normal.”
Vucetich is a perfect nine-for-nine in championship finals. His record is now on the line as Real Salt Lake will enter the second leg with the away goals advantage. And while RSL will have an idle weekend, his club plays a must-win league match against Puebla on Saturday.
The Monterrey coach was reminded by the media of the 37-match unbeaten streak that RSL have built at Rio Tinto Stadium. Yet Vucetich believes the trip to Salt Lake City actually provides an advantage for the Mexican side.
“It will benefit us to play in more comfortable weather with lower temperatures,” Vucetich said. “It makes for a less physically demanding game. This will help us a lot. It will be a difficult and complicated game. But to be champions, we need to beat them.”