Pumas UNAM is set to face their toughest game so far this season when they visit Pachuca on Saturday. Pumas is undefeated but has failed to impress so far, while Pachuca is coming back from their first loss but was the best team of the league before losing against Toluca last week. The game will have the return of Pachuca's Olympic players but it's doubtful they will play as they just arrived on Thursday from Brasilia. The team has responded without them and Pachuca is the heavy favorite for this game.
While Palencia and Pumas will keep the more defensive style of game that has been a mark of the team this season, it's not clear how they will cope with a team more powerful offensively than anyone they've faced so far this season. Alejandro Palacios might be needed to repeat the performances that has made him the best goalkeeper of the season so far. They might also need to take the opportunity that, without their young Mexican talent, Pachuca will have the weakest side it expects to have at home (unless both Lozano and Gutierrez move to Europe and then it will be the norm).
On the other hand Pachuca needs to bounce back from a loss to Toluca. They might also need more firepower, especially since it's been defender Stefan Medina,who has been scoring for them with the U-23 players out in Brazil. Still the expectations is for Pachuca to set the rhythm of play and for Pumas to sit back and counter. Pachuca is the favorite but a tie wouldn't be out of the question as Pumas has been able to pull them twice outside of CU so far.
Match date/time: Saturday 8:06pm EST, 7:06pm local
Venue: Estadio Hidalgo, Pachuca, Mexico
TV: NBC Universo (US - Spanish/Delayed), Claro Sports (Mexico)