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Montreal Impact vs Pachuca Preview with Eugene Rupinski

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First of all, can you tell us what kind of soccer is played in Liga Mx? Is it an offensive minded game or its more defensive and how would you compare it to the MLS level?

Liga MX is much different than European or even American soccer. There is usually a good rhythm to games. Teams tend to press down the field more and take more offensive risks, so defenders and goalkeepers are often required to make plays against an opponent rushing at them. There is much more room for creativity in the Mexican game too - it's not uncommon to see players coming from deep to make a run or trying innovative things.

2-      What is the History behind the club of Pachuca?(Championship, notable former player, etc)

Started in 1901 by British miners, Pachuca is one of the oldest professional teams in Mexico. Los Tuzos (The Gophers in Spanish) are five-time Liga MX champions, most recently winning the 2007 Clausura. They have also competed in the CONCACAF Champions League on five occasions, with the last time being the 2009-10 contest. Pachuca is also the first club to win a tournament outside of their Cconference, winning CONMEBOL's 2006 Copa Sudamericana. Some notable names that have played for the club include Christian "Chaco" Giménez, Juan Carlos Cacho, and Gabriel Caballero.

3-      We know Mexican fans love their team. What kind of fans are the one of Pachuca and is it going to be wild for the Montreal Impact to go over there?

Pachuca fans, like most other Liga MX fans, are passionate about their club. They tend to travel well throughout Mexico, and due to the large expatriate population in the United States there may well be traveling fans when they visit Montreal.

4-   Who are the key players to know about on the team? The central defender seems pretty good for what I've seen so far.

Defender Aquivalda Mosquera is back at Pachuca after spells at Sevilla and Club América. The strong center back has also represented Colombia, playing in the 2010 World Cup. Another Tuzos player who represented their country in the 2010 World Cup is goalkeeper Óscar Pérez (also known as El Conejo - The Rabbit). At 41, he is still a key part of Pachuca's defense. On the offensive side is Argentine striker Ariel Nahuelpán, who had 14 goals in 15 matches for Pachuca in the 2014 Apertura and CONCACAF Champions League. Also a threat is Ecuadoran left winger Walter Ayoví, who can also fill in at left back.

5-  What are the expectations for Pachuca in the CCL ? Do they have the team to win it?

I think Pachuca believes they can win the CONCACAF Champions League, and are in a good position to do so. They lost a hard-fought Final series in the 2014 Clausura against León, losing in extra time of the final match. They made an early exit from the 2014 Apertura Liguilla (playoffs) by virtue of Tigres' regular season record. They are a strong team, and when they face the Montreal Impact in late February and early March, they'll be in mid-season form (the 2015 Clausura will start in early January).

6-  They fired their coach after their elimination from the Apertura 2014. What the new coach will bring to the team and in what way it's a good move moving forward?

Mexican clubs go through coaches rather quickly, and if you follow the league long enough you get used to teams burning through them. I believe the players are also accustomed to having to be able to adapt and learn new tactics quickly, and it didn't look like Pachuca missed a beat with Enrique Meza. Meza is a veteran manager, having won four Liga MX Championships, two CONCACAF Champions Cups, and leading Pachuca to win the 2006 Copa Sudamericana. Meza is a winner, and I think he can lead Los Tuzos to further glory.