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3 things we learned from Atlas' 1-0 win over Monterrey

Without Dorlan Pabon, Monterrey's attack struggled.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Atlas didn't turn in the most spectacular performance on Thursday, but they did enough to grab a result that makes them big favorites to advance past Monterrey in Liguilla. The Rayados are in serious trouble after Atlas' 1-0 victory away in Monterrey.

The hosts actually had the first big chance to score in the 21st minute, when they were given a penalty. Luis Venegas blocked a shot with a raised elbow, and the referee pointed to the spot. "Chupete" Humberto Suazo is expected to score every time he steps up to take a penalty, but he shanked it wide, badly.

Luis Caballero scored the game's lone goal in the 35th minute, and it was a bomb. He spotted Jonathan Orozco off his line and took a long-distance rip that dipped at the perfect time, beating the Monterrey keeper to give Atlas the only goal that they needed.

For the rest of the game, Atlas played defensively, and they had little problem hanging on for a clean sheet. The closest Monterrey came to scoring was on a 68th minute long shot by Cesar Delgado, which Federico Vilar tipped over the crossbar.

Monterrey: Orozco, Medina, Mier, Velarde (Madrigal 78'), Juarez (C. Zavala 60'), Meza, J. Zavala, Cardozo (Montes 46'), Silva, Delgado, Suazo

Goals: None.

Atlas: Vilar, Castillo, Venegas, Erpen, Perez, Ramirez, Medina, Gonzalez, Leite (Brambila 60'), Millar (Chavez 85'), Caballero (Escueda 72')

Goals: Caballero (35')

3 things

1. Monterrey's attack is nothing without Dorlan Pabon - Once upon a time, Suazo was the best player in North America. But he's 33 with a few hundred games on his legs now, and he's a shell of his former self. His missed penalty was bad, and he was totally ineffective otherwise. Monterrey just didn't have much up top. They needed Pabon, badly.

2. Atlas might be dull, but they're effective - Much like Tomas Boy's Morelia teams, his Atlas team is pretty hard to watch and pretty good at getting results. They get men behind the ball quickly and make it very difficult to find space in the box. Don't be too stunned if they upset a superior team in the semifinals.

3. The goal was more about bad goalkeeping than a great shot - Sorry. We hate to be Debbie Downer, but Caballero's goal wasn't that great. Sure, it was a nice strike, but Orozco should never get beat from 35 yards. He got caught off his line and couldn't recover. Caballero doesn't score if Monterrey's keeper is in position.