Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Atlas Fútbol Club
Date: Friday, October 5th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán, AR1: José Luis Camargo Callado, AR2: Miguel Angel Chua Ortiz, 4TH: Roberto Rios Jácome
It was a strange week last week. Santos Laguna (6W 3D 2L) beating Necaxa (3W 2D 6L) wasn’t that strange, but winning 1-0 when the losing team had a whopping 65% of the possession was strange. Julio Furch scoring wasn’t strange, but Carlos Acevedo playing light out in goal and getting a clean sheet was if not strange then certainly a bit unexpected.
Atlas (1W 2D 8L) had an even stranger week. Not only did they score (they’d only done so once in their ten prior games), they scored twice and won their first game of the season - against Toluca (6W 1D 4L) of all clubs.
These two clubs will meet tonight , and we’ll most likely see something of a regression toward the mean. While Atlas isn’t as bad as their record or goalscoring may suggest, they also have to face the defending champions in a building they’ve lost exactly one game in all calendar year. Santos has two of the top five goalscorers in Liga MX with Furch (8) and Jonathan Rodríguez (6), both of whom have more goals than Atlas (3) does all season.
Santos has been finding their form a bit lately as well. The defense is playing well as an entire unit, making the lives of Acevedo and Jonathan Orozco that much easier. Hugo Nervo and Matheus Doría have clicked at center back, and José Abella ans Jesús Angulo (as well as Gerardo Arteaga) have earned call-ups by the Mexican National Team. Atlas forwards Jefferson Duque and Ulises Cardona will most likely struggle to find space against this back line.
Atlas does have a ton of promising young talent, with Cardona (19) joined by the likes of Bryan Garnica (22), Clifford Aboagye (23), and Ian Torres (18). If they can keep this nucleus together and build around it and see other young players like Edgar Zaldívar (21) develop, we may see the beginning of something special in Zapopan.
That may not be enough however to help them tonight against Santos. Then again, it seemed impossible that they’d score a goal or win a game just a few short weeks ago.