When the Dynamo and Monarcas Morelia step onto the pitch tonight at Robertson Stadium, there will be a mutual respect emanating from each sideline. However, each team views the game as an opportunity to better its squad, and each coach is taking the game seriously.
“I think what you will see from us is a very competitive team, and I expect you will see nothing less from our opponents,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
Morelia head coach Tómas Boy echoed Kinnear's sentiments: “We want to go with the whole team, not an alternative team,” he said. “We have a game next Sunday, so everyone needs to play. We have to be sharp.”
Kinnear, who grew up in the San Jose area and spent time playing in Mexico, said he is very familiar with and has a strong admiration for Boy.
“I knew who he was, because in the early to mid 80s he played for the San Jose Earthquakes, and I lived in the San Jose area at the time,” he said. “I can honestly say I was impressed with the way he played, and I have always remembered his name and the contribution he made to the Earthquakes.”
With the suspensions of Joseph Ngwenya (yellow card accumulation) and Danny Cruz (red card), the Dynamo lack some of the depth they normally carry into international tournaments. As a result, regulars such as Brian Ching, who normally might see less minutes to rest for MLS action, could see added time. Morelia defender Mauricio Romero said stopping Ching is a priority for the Morelia defense.
“As a defender we have to concentrate and not let our guard down,” he said. “We have been focusing on set pieces since the Dynamo are very strong on them. A main focus of the game will be neutralizing Ching, because he is important to the Dynamo attack.”
Although the final score does not affect league standings, Ching said tonight’s game is one the Dynamo want to win.
“Considering our season has not been going great, this is a great opportunity for us to collect some silverware,” he said. “We view this game as very important, because we want to win this tournament. Having said that, we are up against an extremely tough opponent, which will make life difficult for us.”