Game: Deportivo Toluca Fútbol Club S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, September 2nd
Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 5:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex.)
Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: Miguel Ángel Hernández Paredes, AR2: José Alfredo López Cruz, 4TH: Edgar Ulises Rangel Araujo
Defending Liga MX champions Santos Laguna (4W 2D 1L) head on the road to face off against the team they beat for their sixth star, Toluca FC (3W 1D 3L). Los Guerreros are looking to keep pace with current Superlider Cruz Azul (5W 2D 0L). Santos and Cruz Azul played to a 1-1 draw last Sunday, and Santos will want to head into the international break on a positive note. Santos will be sending four players out to represent their respective national teams. José Abella, Jesús Angulo, and Gerardo Arteaga will represent Mexico, while Ayrton Preciado will represent Ecuador.
Santos has been consistently playing some of the best soccer in Liga MX this season, remaining unbeaten at home and getting points on the road in some of the league’s toughest road destinations. Their thirteen goals scored was tied with Club América for the lead at the start of the week, with Jonathan Rodríguez and Julio Furch each have four goals, one off the current league-leading pace. Santos is both creative and fundamentally sound in the attack, doing the little things right and executing when given the chance.
Toluca is a much better team on paper than they have shown so far this season. A rundown of the lineup shows solid veterans like Alfredo Talavera, Osvaldo González, William da Silva, Antonio Ríos, and Amaury Escoto playing with some promising young talent like Luis “Quick” Mendoza and Alexis Canelo. Toluca however have been all over the place, with wins against Tigres (3W 1D 3L), Tijuana (1W 3D 3L), and Monarcas Morelia (3W 3D 1L) and losses against Cruz Azul, Puebla (2W 1D 4L), and León (3W 1D 3L).
A big part of Toluca’s problems have revolved around injuries, with Canelo, Rubens Sambueza, Pablo Barrientos, and Enrique Triverio all working their way back from injury. Sambueza isn’t expected back until the end of September at the earliest, while the others are listed as day-to-day. With the constant need to juggle the lineup, it’s no wonder Hernán Cristante’s side has been inconsistent.
They’re still a quality side and one Santos would do well to not take lightly. Nemesio Díez is not an easy place to play, at altitude in the noon sun. If Santos has been good at one thing however, it’s quietly handling their business no matter the circumstances.