TOYOTA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 14: Jesus Zavala of Monterrey celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the FIFA Club World Cup 5th Place match between Club de Futbol Monterrey and Esperance Sportive de Tunis at Toyota Stadium on December 14, 2011 in Toyota, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Monterrey look like sure bets to win their second consecutive CONCACAF Champions League title.
It might be time to put a fork in Santos Laguna. It's not that they aren't very good and maybe they can still come back, but it seems unlikely considering their opponent in the CONCACAF Champions League final.
You would be hard-pressed to find any team in CONCACAF that could beat Monterrey right now. Their strikers, Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris, make up the best strike partnership in all of the Americas and after some sputtering earlier in the year, they have found their form of late. They proved as much in getting to the final and defeating Santos in last week's first leg, 2-0. Despite having to go to Torreon for the second leg, it is difficult to see Monterrey not holding the trophy at the end of 90 minutes.
Monterrey aren't just going for the Champions League title. They are looking to be crowned champions of CONCACAF for the second consecutive year. No Mexican team prioritized the Champions League like Monterrey did, and despite other teams also making it a focus this season, Monterrey have still reigned supreme and now they have the chance to become the first team to win the competition in consecutive years.
By holding Santos scoreless in the first leg, Monterrey really put Santos in a hole. Even if Santos can manage a couple goals, odds are they won't keep the Suazo-de Nigris attack off of the scoreboard and as soon as Monterrey get a goal, Santos will have to win by three goals.
There's little reason to think Santos can get the job done. Maybe they do, and if they do, it will be a fantastic final 90 minutes that rewards every neutral viewer with an incredible final, but odds are they don't. This one looks all Monterrey and that first Rayados goal will seal it up. That second Champions League title, and a second consecutive trip to the Club World Cup, might as well be Monterrey's now.
Santos Laguna Vs. Monterrey, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League Final
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, April 25, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Corona, Torreon, Mexico
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA English), Telefutura (USA Spanish)