Game: Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, May 13th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, CDMX)
Referees: REF: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán, AR1: Andres Hernández Delgado, AR2: José Santana Martínez, 4TH: Adonai Escobedo Gonzalez
Television: United States - Univision, Univision Deportes Network; Mexico - Canal de las Estrellas, TDN
Series record: Santos leads 4-1 after the first leg at Estadio Corona TSM on Thursday night. If the aggregate ends in a draw, América will advance due to their higher seeding.
Santos Laguna’s 4-1 dismantling of Club América on Thursday was a statement in many different ways. Santos proved they could dominate even without Néstor Araujo and Jonathan Rodríguez (not to mention an injured Djaniny Tavares) and that América was relatively powerless to stop them. But in a bigger-picture view, this win perhaps symbolizes a changing of the guard in Liga MX. Tigres and Monterrey, finalists in the 2017 Apertura, were both bounced in the quarterfinals. Of the traditional big four (América, Chivas, Cruz Azul, and Pumas), only América is still standing.
Don’t eulogize América just yet though. There are still 90 minutes of soccer to play at Estadio Azteca, where history has proven that anything can happen from a stoppage time goal from a goalkeeper to a goal touched by the hand of God. América has the firepower to get three goals in 90 minutes, something they’ve done three times in Liga MX play (regular season and Liguilla) this year. With Oribe Peralta, Jérémy Ménez, Renata Ibarra, and Cecilio Domínguez up top this team should be able to compete with anyone offensively.
The defense however has to play better than they did in the Ida leg of this series. Santos’ striker tandem of Djaniny and Julio Furch (as well as backup Edwin Cetré) were able to do whatever they wanted against América’s back line, and with Jona Rodríguez returning from his red card suspension Los Guerreros will be even more dangerous in the attack.
Santos’s defense proved it can handle the América offense at Estadio Corona TSM, but repeating that performance at the Azteca will be a feat unto itself. With the pressure solely on the home side, Santos will need to capitalize on any chances they get while ensuring that América doesn’t pick up momentum. If the home side starts to get back into it, anything can happen at the hallowed ground of the Azteca.