Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Friday, October 18th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Miguel Ángel Hernández Paredes, AR2: Jose de Jesus Baños Caballero, 4TH: Luis Daniel Chavez Leon
All-time record: The clubs have only met in Liga MX play and Tijuana holds the edge, winning five to Santos’ three with the clubs drawing eight times. The last time the clubs met was at Estadio Corona TSM back on February 10, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw. Miller Bolaños got the goal for Xolos, while Javier Correa scored for Santos.
In their last time out, Santos Laguna (7W 2D 3L) suffered a 4-0 loss to Tigres UANL (5W 5D 2L) in Nuevo Leon. It was their worst loss since a 4-0 loss to Monterrey back on April 14, also in Nuevo Leon. They’ll face Tijuana (5W 3D 4L) this week at home, where they’ve lost only two regular season games since January of 2018.
Santos will also see manager Guillermo Almada return to the touchline after being forced to sit in the stands for the match against Tigres, having picked up a red card in the previous match. Almada will also have had the international break to work with the players who themselves weren’t on international duty. Returning from international duty are Brian Lozano (Uruguay), Gerardo Arteaga (Mexico), Diego Valdés (Chile), Eryc Castillo (Ecuador), Eduardo “Lalo” Aguirre and Adrián Lozano (Mexico U22).
The majority of the season has seen Santos atop the table and playing attractive and effective soccer. Almada’s high pressing and counterattacking style that is a staple in Major League Soccer and some other pockets of the world is proving largely successful against teams in Liga MX, who tend to favor a more free-wheeling, dynamic, attacking soccer.
As bad as the last time out was for Santos, it might have been even worse for Xolos. They were up 2-1 at home against Atlas () in the 90th minute, but two red cards in stoppage time allowed a Manuel Balda goal to tie the match. Thanks to the debacle they’ll be without Ariel Nahuelpán, Camilo Sanvezzo, and Kevin Balanta, all of whom were red carded in the Atlas match.
This has the potential to be catastrophic for Xolos. Nahuelpán and Sanvezzo represent one-third of Tijuana’s goals, scoring seven of the twenty-one goals scored by the team. Xolos will need most likely start Cesar Falletti and Ángel Sepúlveda in place of Nahuelpán and Sanvezzo, with Ignacio Rivero or Washington Camacho taking the place of Balanta at central midfield.
The match between the two clubs with the longest-running English social media accounts should be a good one regardless of who is in and who is out.