Queretaro CONCACAF Champions League Preview

LEG 1 - Feb 23: Querétaro vs D.C. United

LEG 2 - Mar 1: Querétaro vs D.C. United

After the 2012-13 season, Querétaro were relegated from Liga MX. During that offseason, Querétaro’s ownership group purchased Liga MX side Jaguares de Chiapas and relocated the team to Querétaro, keeping the side in top division.

Since their “return” to Liga MX, the Gallos Blancos have reached the Liguilla, Liga MX’s playoffs, just once in five attempts. The club improbably reached the Liguilla final in the 2015 Clausura as the six seed but fell to equally as improbable number eight seed, Santos Laguna.

Querétaro are currently home to two American players – fullback Jonathan Bornstein, who has been with the club since the start of 2015, and former Real Salt Lake man Luis Gil, who joined in December. Bornstein has seen regular playing time at left back, while Gil has split his time between the starting lineup and the bench in the handful of league games since joining the club.

The club is probably most notable for being the recent home for Ronaldinho and the current home to former Whitecaps striker Camillo Sanvezzo. Sanvezzo suffered an ACL tear in August and is likely to miss most if not all of the 2015-16 season. In the recent transfer window, the club sold two important attackers from their recent campaigns -- young Mexican Orbelin Pineda (to Chivas) and Brazilian winger William da Silva (to Club América). Outside of the aforementioned Gil, the only signing of note was winger/striker Carlos Fierro, who consistently underwhelmed at Chivas before making the move east to Querétaro.

Querétaro currently sit in the bottom half of the table after six matches played in Liga MX. Both of their wins were against sides also sitting in the bottom half – Veracruz and Dorados, who have combined for just four points and zero wins. 

3 Stars

  • Emanuel Villa – The 33 year-old Villa has been a regular goal scorer in Liga MX for the better part of the past decade. A well rounded forward, Villa excels with his back to goal and is an adept finisher in the box. While the Argentinian lacks the pace to routinely beat players, he compensates for it with his positioning.
  • Mario Osuna – Also known as Mono, Osuna made his one and only Mexico appearance in a friendly against the United States in April 2015. Typically a deep lying defensive midfielder and distributor, Osuna has occasionally been known to chip in on attack with long range strikes. 
  • Tiago Volpi – The Brazilian keeper has been a mainstay for Querétaro since his transfer at the start of 2015. He earned plaudits from fans and non-fans alike for his performances in the Querétaro’s run to the 2015 Clausura final. Volpi is a strong shot-stopper but has shown issues commanding his box on aerial balls of late.

Tactical Look

Victor Manuel Vucetich is likely most well known as the man Miguel Herrera replaced shortly after a poor 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign for Mexico. Vucetich has a reputation as a practical and conservative manager.

Since taking over the side in January 2015, Vucetich has routinely shuffled his players and formations while favoring a 4-2-3-1. Vucetich has continued to shuffle his side this season.

Querétaro tend to favor a more direct style, even during spells of possession. Players will look more often than not to get the ball into the feet of Villa, who will look to play a quick one touch to a nearby teammate or occasionally turn and run himself. If opponents successfully cut out the supply to Villa, then they can usually expect the game to go vertical, with crosses from the flanks and long balls from the back.

Starting XI

  • GK: Tiago Volpi
  • RB: George Corral
  • CB: Mario Martinez
  • CB: Juan Forlin
  • LB: Jonathan Bornstein
  • RM: Angel Sepulveda
  • DM: Mario Osuna
  • DM: Nery Dominguez
  • AM: Luis Miguel Noriega
  • LM: Carlos Fierro
  • F: Emanuel Villa

CCL History

This is the first ever appearance for Querétaro in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Projection

Querétaro are one of the weaker sides in Liga MX. They have struggled with consistency since their finals appearance in the 2015 Clausura and represent the best opportunity for an MLS side to progress through to the next round. Querétaro will likely push to get one or two goals in the first leg at home and hope to park the bus in DC in the second leg.