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Match preview: Club León vs. Club Puebla

Tonight could be the night Landon Donovan makes his return to professional soccer as León hosts Puebla.

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FBL-MEX-LEON-DONOVAN Photo credit should read GUSTAVO BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images

Game: Club León vs. Club Puebla

Date: Saturday, February 10th

Time: 8:06 p.m. Eastern, 7:06 p.m. Central, 5:06 p.m. Pacific, 12:06 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Nou Camp (León, Gua.)

Referees: REF: Diego Montaño Robles, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, AR2: Cesar Cerritos García, 4TH: Edgar Ulises Rangel Araujo

Television: United States - ESPN Deportes, Galavision; Mexico - Fox Sports 2, Cono Norte, Claro Sports, Imagen Televisión

Streaming: Fanatiz, fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling (Free trial + monthly subscription), Univision NOW, Watch ESPN, ESPN Deportes+

One of the most eagerly anticipated Liga MX matches in quite some time kicks off tonight, as 35 year old Landon Donovan is expected to make his return to professional soccer with Club León (2W 1D 2L) as La Fiera hosts Puebla (3W 0D 2L). Amid the hype and the hoopla though is a León club that is facing a bit of a crisis, having lost their last two Liga MX matches by a combined score of 9-1.

Donovan could provide a spark off of the bench or even a psychological boost for La Fiera, but they’ll need to address some of the glaring problems on defense if they’re going to give their newest norteamericano any chance to contribute. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough has been shaky the past couple of games, having been shelled by a staggering 41 shots, 17 of which were on frame. León will also be without right back Fernando Navarro, who was sent off just 27 minutes into their last game against Monterrey. Look for former AS Roma and Udinese right back Iván Piris to get the start for Navarro.

Monterrey v Leon - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
It’s been a rough stretch for León goalkeeper William Yarbrough, allowing nine goals on forty-one shots in the past two games.
Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Despite their recent woes, León does have the ability to mix it up offensively. Argentine striker Mauro Boselli, who has seen stints with Wigan Athletic, Genoa, and Palermo, co-lead the league in goals with 11 during the Apertura tournament but has only one goal so far in the Clausura. Only Elias Hernandez has more than one for La Fiera, however with Luis “Chapo” Montes and Andrés Andrade also contributing the potential is there - provided the defense can hold teams.

Puebla comes in having lost both of their previous road games, having been shut out by Monarcas Morelia (3W 1D 2L) and Club Tijuana (2W 3D 1L). Canadian international Lucas Cavallini leads Puebla with two goals, however he’ll be missing Alejandro Chumacero as the Bolivian right winger was sent off late in the last match against Chivas de Guadalajara (1W 1D 3L). Puebla manager Enrique Meza may elect to shuffle the deck offensively, pushing Francisco Acuña out to the right and bringing on Jesús Escoboza or Christian Tabó into the mix.

FBL-MEX-TIJUANA-PUEBLA
Toronto native Lucas Cavallini is Puebla’s biggest offensive threat so far this season.
Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images

Defensively, Puebla hasn’t had many of the issues that have seemingly plagued their opponents. The outside back tandem of Brayan Angulo and Luis Venegas compliment the attack while center backs Alonso Zamora and Anderson Santamaria are usually a steady presence in front of goalkeeper Moises Muñoz.

This is a game that León should be winning though. Puebla is more pragmatic in their approach, which really could lend itself to León if they can stay out of trouble early. And if La Fiera can grab an early goal, the stage would be set for Donovan to make his return to the pitch.

FBL-MEX-LEON-DONOVAN Photo credit should read GUSTAVO BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images