Game: Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, September 29th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Victoria (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Referees: REF: Roberto García Orozco, AR1: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, AR2: Marco Antonio Bisguerra Mendiola, 4TH: Oscar Mejia Garcia
Santos Laguna (5W 3D 2L) will be on the road for the first time since September 2nd, heading out to Aguascalientes to face Club Necaxa (3W 2D 5L). The defending champions will need to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 draw with Veracruz (2W 2D 6L). Santos dominated the game and got a solid performance from goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, who was beaten by a fantastic backheel goal from Cristian Menéndez.
If Santos are to get the victory, they’ll need to do it without Orozco. Word came on Friday evening that he’ll be out “with a level 1 strain in his right quadriceps” according to a press release. He’ll be replaced by 22 year old Carlos Acevedo, who has been solid in his three starts this season. Acevedo has allowed six goals in those three appearances, garnering one win, one draw, and one loss.
Acevedo will have the luxury of having a solid, competent defensive unit in front of him. The back four of José Abella, Hugo Nervo, Matheus Doría, and Jesús Angulo have been together for most of the season, with this unit only conceding seven goals in six games. Couple that with the dual scoring threat of Jonathan Rodríguez and Julio Furch, and it’s not surprising that Santos are looking like a solid bet to make another deep run in the Liguilla.
Necaxa are a team that is better than their record indicates. While they lost to a bad Monarcas Morelia (3W 4D 3L), they are also thus far the only team to defeat Cruz Azul (7W 2D 1L) this season and looked comfortable in doing so. Thus far into the season, they have played seven of the top ten teams in Liga MX. They sit just four points out of a Liguilla spot, with games against four of the bottom five teams still to come (with the fifth team being Necaxa themselves).
Necaxa’s issue is that they give up goals. Only Veracruz (25) has given up more than Necaxa (17), however on paper at least this team should be decent enough. Hugo González has Manuel Mayorga, Luis Hernández, Ventura Alvarado, and Brayan Beckeles in front of him. If they can play the way they did when they shutout Cruz Azul they might pose some problems for Santos, otherwise it might be a repeat of their 5-2 loss in Week 2 to Pumas (5W 3D 2L).