SALT LAKE CITY — Striker Humberto Suazo has scored only two goals so far in Monterrey’s run in the CONCACAF Champions League. But even if he hasn’t been pouring in the goals, he has been a constant threat.
“He’s a dangerous striker because he’ll make that offside run and, nine times out of 10, he’s offside,” Real Salt Lake center back Nat Borchers said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “But the one time he makes it, he’s onsides and he scores the goal. We just have to be switched on and mindful of his runs. He’s a smart player and we’re aware of that.”
Borchers likened Suazo to Columbus Crew striker Jeff Cunningham. They are similarly quick and both like to drift into the channels in the back line, always trying to beat the offside trap on a ball over the top. They are also both capable of finishing when they are presented with a half-chance.
“After we played the [first leg], I went on YouTube and looked up the highlights,” Borchers said of the Chilean World Cup veteran. “I just saw how calm and collected he is once he gets in that penalty box.”
Despite his poise in front of goal, Suazo needed a penalty kick in last week’s first leg against RSL to get on the score sheet. He did, however, have several other good chances. He came close with a curling shot in the first half, and then nearly chipped goalkeeper Nick Rimando after breaking in alone in the second half. His lifted ball cleared the charging Rimando, but drifted agonizingly over the crossbar.
“I think we are going to have to do a better job on getting pressure on the ball in this leg,” Borchers said. “I think too often we were passive in our pressure and it made it easy for their midfielders to chip those balls in over the top.
“It’s really important to get that pressure and the communication has got to be big on us in the back. The back four need to communicate a little bit better in terms of making sure Suazo isn’t getting between us and beating that offside line.”