Game: Club Puebla vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Friday, March 16th
Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC (Times listed are for the United States, who changed to Daylight Saving Time last week. Mexico is one hour behind per time zone.)
Venue: Estadio Cuauhtémoc (Puebla, Pue.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: José Santana Martínez, AR2: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, 4TH: Miguel Angel Flores Rodriguez
Television: United States - Univision Deportes Network; Mexico - Azteca 7, Sky HD, SKY Planeta Fútbol
Puebla (5W 2D 4L) has been good this season, currently sitting sixth in the table and earning well-deserved praise on having turned their fortunes around. At the beginning of the 2017 Apertura, they were in the relegation fight along with Monarcas Morelia, Veracruz, and newly promoted Lobos BUAP. As of now they are mathematically eliminated from being relegated at the end of the season, even in the highly unlikely scenario they were to lose out.
As good as Puebla has been, Santos Laguna (7W 2D 2L) has been better than anyone else in Liga MX this season. They’ve been at the top of the table for the past two weeks, even after losing Djaniny Tavares to a muscle injury before last week’s match against Monterrey (4W 3D 4L). Forward Jonathan “Cabeza” Rodríguez scored two goals while Julio Furch had a goal and assist on the night.
Puebla away will be a much tougher task than hosting Monterrey. While Rayados have been hapless as of late, Puebla are undefeated at home in Liga MX play in 2018, with a +7 goal differential at Estadio Cuauhtémoc. Their only blemish was a draw on February 23 against Necaxa (3W 5D 3L).
Puebla is a fun team to watch right now. Canadian Lucas Cavallini has five goals, while Colombian Omar Fernández has two goals and three assists. Bolivian Alejandro Chumacero won’t ever get the numbers that the more attack-minded Cavallini or Fernández will, but he’s been an integral cog in the build up play for Puebla and will be available for selection. Chumacero missed some time with injury but was in the 18 last week in the 1-0 defeat to Atlas (2W 1D 8L). Anderson Santamaria will not be available, as he picked up a red card in the 58th minute against Atlas.
Santos is also a fun team to watch as well, even without Djaniny. Right wing Jesús Isijara had a fantastic game against Monterrey even though he didn’t get onto the scoresheet. Isijara does all of the little offensive things right: forcing defenders to over-commit, beating defenders down along the corner, chasing down errant passes late in the game no matter what the score.
I feel like this could be one of the more exciting match-ups of the week, especially if you have no allegiance to one of the teams playing. Both are playing well and are fairly offensive-minded, which usually means the teams will put on a show for the fans watching.