MONTERREY, Mexico -- Monterrey coach Antonio Mohamed was satisfied with his team's 1-1 draw against Clasico Regio rival Tigres in the Liga MX final first leg on Thursday and is happy about the development of 18-year-old American midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez.
Rayados took the lead against Tigres through a Nico Sanchez header, but the home side equalized from an Enner Valencia penalty to set things up for Sunday's second leg in Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
It's a situation that Mohamed believes gives his team a strong chance of lifting the 2017 Apertura title.
"If you'd have said in June that we'd have the final at home and we had to win the last game, I'd have taken it," Mohamed said in the news conference after the match. "It depends on us and there is nothing more beautiful than depending on yourself in front of your fans at home."
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) December 8, 2017
Monterrey finished the regular season in first position and has been especially dominant at home, only failing to win once in 11 games in the league this Apertura -- last month in a draw against Santos Laguna.
One of the pillars of Monterrey's form has been young Californian Gonzalez, who is in contention for U.S. Soccer's Young Male Player of the Year award, and Mohamed had some words of praise for the midfielder.
"He's had a great season," Mohamed said. "The first half he was a little uncomfortable but the second half, especially with the introduction of [central midfielder Jesus] Molina, he let loose a lot more and was able to win back the ball in the opponent's half, which is his strong point."
He added: "He's a player with a big future."
Gonzalez has played for U.S. youth national teams, but the U.S.-Mexico dual national is yet to feature for the full national team.