From fan to player, Villarreal eager to face Mexican opponents Monterrey

CARSON, Calif. – When Jose Villarreal was growing up in Inglewood, Mexican league games were a frequent part of his families’ weekend television regiment and among teams that the LA Galaxy forward enjoyed the most was Monterrey.

A self-professed fan of Liga MX giants Cruz Azul, as a child, Villarreal was hungry to consume any soccer game on television and frequently found himself watching Los Rayados

“I grew up watching up watching these players on the weekends with my family,” said Villarreal of LA's CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal opponents. “I know most of the players and I’m a big fan of the team and a fan of them so it’s going to be a great experience for me to play against them.”

One player that sticks out most for Villarreal is Monterrey’s talented striker Humberto Suazo, who Villarreal believes is quite similar to LA’s own star forward Robbie Keane.

“He’s just a clever player. He’s another player like Robbie, same ability around the box and with his creativeness with the ball,” said Villarreal. “He’s lethal around the [penalty] area so it’s going to be a tough match up for our defenders.”

Villarreal is expected to contend for a starting spot alongside Keane, but no matter where he finds himself on LA’s team sheet, he’s eager for a chance to face a Mexican opponent.

“I always dreamed to play in Mexico and to have the chance to play against them tomorrow is going to be fun,” said Villarreal. “It’s going to be an experience and I’ll cherish that forever.”