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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Club León

Santos is looking like a top team in Liga MX, while León is looking to build on the momentum from Landon Donovan’s debut.

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Santos Laguna v Tijuana - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Natalia Perales/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club León

Date: Wednesday, February 14th

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: Jonathan Hernandez Juarez, AR1: Alberto Morin Méndez, AR2: Jose de Jesus Baños Caballero, 4TH: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán

Television: United States - Galavision; Mexico - ESPN Norte, Azteca 7

Streaming: Fanatiz, fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling (Free trial + monthly subscription)

Leon v Santos Laguna - Torneo Apertura 2017 Liga MX
The last time these two teams met, Santos got the 2-1 win at Estadio Nou Camp in León.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos Laguna (3W 2D 1L) heads back to Torreón after soundly defeating Chivas Guadalajara (1W 1D 4L) on Saturday 2-0. Los Guerreros are on a four game unbeaten run in Liga MX play, largely thanks to the stellar play of Cape Verdean striker Djaniny Tavares. Djaniny leads all Liga MX scorers with seven goals in six games, and scored a hat trick against Lobos BUAP to start the season. Osvaldo Martínez is tied for third in Liga MX with Tigres’ Ismael Sosa with three assists.

Santos Laguna v Monarcas - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
Djaniny Tavares has always been good, but the 26 year old has elevated his game in the Clausura.
Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

It’s easy to ignore Santos’ defense, but they’ve been quietly put together a strong defense that’s only allowed five goals on the season. Only six other clubs are averaging less than one goal against per game (Querétaro FC, Necaxa, Tijuana, Monterrey, Club América, and Pumas), and goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco has been solid for Los Guerreros this season.

They’ll face a León (3W 1D 2L) side that saw them put two ugly losses in a row behind them to defeat Puebla (3W 0D 3L) last week. Mauro Boselli and Andrés “Rifle” Andrade got their second goals of the season, and Landon Donovan made his Liga MX debut for La Fiera. Now that the spectacle of Donovan’s return to professional soccer is over, the real work will start in earnest for León.

Leon v Tigres UANL - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2017 Liga MX
William Yarbrough and León’s defense will be strongly tested against Santos Laguna’s clinical offense.
Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

While the win over Puebla was a step in the right direction, León still has significant issues that need to be addressed. They’re still tied for last in the league in goals conceded (12), and will be facing a team that is much more offensively proficient than Puebla. If Mauro Boselli and Rile Andrade can continue to threaten offensively it may be enough to paper over the cracks in León’s defense, but even then it’s a tough ask to try and out-gun a team of Santos’ caliber.