Greetings from Estadio WakeMed, where Mexico's Los Rayados de Monterrey is about to play the Carolina RailHawks on a lovely Sunday afternoon here in Cary.
Just a few notes before kickoff ...
Monterrey is starting its first team. Chilean international Humberto Suazo and Mexican international Jared Borgetti are in the lineup. The RailHawks defense has had trouble slowing USL-1 forwards, so it's going to take an exceptional effort today to keep those two in check.
The RailHawks have a few minor changes to their normal starting 11.
Brian Levey gets the start in goal, the first time in any match this season that Chris McClellan isn't. No word why, but my hunch is that coach Scott Schweitzer just wanted to give Levey a chance and McClellan a day off. Also, Frankie Sanfilippo is back in the starting lineup for the first time since the RailHawks June 20 trip to Rochester. He's been out for the last eight games, save for 20 minutes against Kansas City on July 1, with a hamstring injury. Sanfilippo will also wear the captain's armband again.
The crowd, which will approach if not surpass 8,000, is certainly pro-Monterrey. From my seat in the pressbox, there's very little orange to be seen. Most of the crowd has been here for more than an hour already, blowing air horns and pounding thundersticks. It's already like it was last year when Cruz Azul played the RailHawks, so it's only a matter of time before the stands start rocking.
I'll be back at halftime with an update.