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Match preview: Toluca FC vs. Santos Laguna

Liga MX’s leading scorer heads to Toluca as Santos takes on Los Diablos Rojos

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Toluca v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Game: Deportivo Toluca Fútbol ClubS.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, February 18th

Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex.)

Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, AR2: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, 4TH: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures

Television: United States - Univision, Univision Deportes Network; Mexico - UnivisionTDN, Canal de las Estrellas

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

Chivas v Santos Laguna - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
Santos Laguna striker Djaniny Tavares leads Liga MX with 10 goals.
Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Coming off of perhaps the most convincing win of the season, Santos Laguna (4W 2D 1L) heads to Edomex to face Toluca (2W 3D 2L). In their last outing, Santos thrashed León (3W 1D 3L) by a score of 5-1 thanks in part to a hat trick by Djaniny Tavares. Djaniny leads all Liga MX scorers with ten goals in just seven games, scoring his hat trick in an astounding eight minute span.

It’s not just offense though for Santos, who have allowed just one goal in their last three games - and that was a miscue against León when goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco gave the ball away to Mauro Boselli on a throw in. Only Club América (4W 3D 0L) has a better goal differential (+9) than Santos (+8) at the moment.

Chivas v Santos Laguna - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
Santos ranks fifth in defense, having conceded six goals in seven games.
Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

They’ll face a Toluca team that imploded in their last game out. In the 2-0 loss to Puebla (4W 0D 4L), Toluca was shown two red cards. Pablo Barrientos was shown a red card in the 80th minute, Ángel Reyna was shown one in the 90th minute, and manager Hernán Cristante was suspended by the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF) for today’s game as well.

While weakened significantly, Toluca still can pose problems. Left winger Rubens Sambueza is still dangerous even at 34 years old, and right winger Ernesto Vega and center forward Alexis Canelo are both tied for the team lead in goals with two.

Toluca v Cruz Azul - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
Rubens Sambueza has one goal in seven games so far this season.
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

If Toluca is to have any success whatsoever, they’re going to have to find a way to shut down Djaniny. Only Tijuana (2W 3D 2L) has been able to hold Santos scoreless, and they were able to do it by focusing solely on defense - and by getting a bit lucky as Santos looked to have a goal scored but wasn’t called. They’ll have to look to keep men behind the ball and prevent giving Djaniny space to work - otherwise it could be a long day for Los Diablos Rojos.