Game: Club Puebla vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Friday, January 18th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Cuauhtémoc (Puebla de Zaragoza, Pue.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: Israel Valenciano Torres, AR2: Juan Carlos Salinas Salinas, 4TH: Jonathan Hernandez Juarez
Fresh off of their first win of the season, Santos Laguna (1W 0D 1L) heads south to face Puebla (0W 1D 1L) in the late game on Friday.
Puebla tied Cruz Azul (0W 1D 1L) in their only home match this season, an ugly affair that saw Puebla’s lone goal come off of a Lucas Cavallini penalty shot in the 28th minute. Puebla isn’t as bad as their record suggests, and have a wealth of talented players beyond Cavallini. Bolovian midfielder Alejandro Chumacero, wingers Christian Tabó on the left and Francisco Acuña on the right, and left back Brayan Angulo are all talented Liga MX players with potential.
Unfortunately it just hasn’t seemed to come all together for Puebla. Angulo has been hurt, Acuña hasn’t featured this season, and Tabó will miss the match due to picking up a red card last week against Toluca (2W 0D 0L) in a 2-0 loss. Manager Enrique Meza will have his work cut out for him with the limited squad, although this may be the opportunity that Acuña, Félix Micolta, or another young player needs to earn more minutes.
Santos on the other hand was able to put together a solid 90 minute performance last week against Monarcas Morelia (0W 0D 2L). Los Guerreros looked like they had a plan and purpose, creating chances and snuffing out most any danger Morelia would attempt to mount. This was however in their own building. While they have lost one regular season home game at Estadio Modelo TSM dating back to the beginning of 2018, they lost their other road game this year 2-0 to Lobos BUAP (2W 0D 0L).
Santos looked decent in the game against Lobos BUAP and looked good against Monarcas, and for a team that (again) experienced some significant offseason turnover to be coherent and cohesive in Week 2 is encouraging. Ayrton Preciado in particular continues to impress. Alongisde Julio Furch up top, Preciado tends to drift out to the left and work his way back inside when given the ball. He has the skills to beat most full backs and speed to elude most center backs.
Santos may decide to change up their back line a bit against Puebla, as left back Jesús Angulo was subbed off at halftime against Monarcas for Gerardo Arteaga. Angulo and Arteaga are a 1A/1B situation at the position, and competition for minutes could be one of the hottest in the league.
This should be a good match against a Puebla team that needs to assert itself and live up to its potential - especially at home - and a Santos side that needs to prove it can win on the road if it’s going to win their second Cup in three seasons.