·15 August 2023
·15 August 2023
The Liga MX giants are second in the 2023 Apertura table with seven points from three games played. After making it past top sides like Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, rivals Tigres, and 2022 MLS Cup champions LAFC, Rayados look poised to take the next step and make it to the final.
But qualifying to the semi-final in the competition that started with 47 clubs from MLS and Liga MX isn't enough for Monterrey.
"The responsibility that we carried from the first day we left Monterrey, we knew that coming to face all the MLS teams took an extra responsibility," Ortiz said.
Nashville SC, led by head coach Gary Smith, may prove to be their toughest competition yet - at least from a defensive standpoint. This may play into how Ortiz wants to set his team up, though, as Liga MX sides have proven to be smooth and comfortable on the ball in Leagues Cup.
Smith's defensive side typically don't see too much of the ball, but are lethal on the counter-attack with 2022 MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar, Fabrice Picault, and summer signing Sam Surridge all capable of being clinical with minimal attempts.
With the rivalry between the two neighboring countries at the international level, Ortiz also senses the growing competitiveness between MLS and Liga MX and knows that Mexican fans from all clubs will be cheering on Rayados against Nashville SC.
"We never dodge reality regarding that reality of sports competition," he said. "The boys also understand the situation, it's not to be left out, but they know that an entire country is behind Monterrey so that it can go to the Final."