As two Liga MX games were taking place on Sunday afternoon, news broke that Monterrey had parted ways with its coach, Victor Manuel Vucetich. The news of Vuectich no longer coaching Monterrey even in the world of Mexican soccer, where coaching changes are normal given that these split season tournaments allow for little patience to be given to coaches, was surprising given what he has done as coach of Monterrey.
As coach of Monterrey, Vucetich has coached the team to three finals, winning two league titles and also having led the team to three consecutive CONCACAF Champions League titles with the latest one coming earlier this year. His success at winning titles with Monterrey, on top of what he had done previously, cemented his status as the ‘Midas King’ because of his title winning success. Even with a bad start to the Apertura 2013 tournament, having won six of 21 points possible so far, his departure was still no less surprising.
After a few days of reflection and the appointment of a new coach by Monterrey in the form of Jose Guadalupe Cruz, a man who like team president Luis Salvador has past playing and coaching ties to the club Atlante, many are still asking if a coaching change was really necessary at Monterrey. The answer is that it was clear the time had come to where Vucetich and team no longer were on the same page, and as a result, it was best to end things now.
The club and its officials are themselves partly to blame for the bad start to the Apertura as it has not adequately replaced the departures of players like Aldo De Nigris and Dorlan Pabon, who had just arrived but was immediately sold given Spanish club Valencia activated his release clause in his contract. The club also mishandled the situation with youth player Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona, having to sell him to Dutch club FC Twente in the end. That said, Monterrey still has one of the best and most talented squads in all of the Liga MX.
Watching Monterrey play so far in this Apertura 2013 tournament, there has been a feeling that something besides loss of certain players and or injuries to other players was missing. The team at times looked listless and lacked any attacking cohesion for long stretches of time during games. This was very clear in their loss to city rival Tigres UANL whom they lost to 3-1 in a game where they lacked any fight back after having gone down 2-1 before the half. After last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Leon, it was clear; the message being delivered by Vucetich was no longer resonating with his players.
In the end of the day, what Vucetich was trying to get his players to buy into and execute on the field of play was no longer having the same effect, especially with a few key players still on the team. It also appears to be the case where Vucetich, to a certain degree, had accepted this to be the fact. Now with Jose Guadalupe Cruz, a team still rich with talent will probably be able to jump start its season and do enough to advance to the playoffs and head into the FIFA Club World Cup with some momentum. Whether the fortunes of Monterrey turn around or not, the time for Vucetich and club to part ways was just right.