Game: Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, November 2nd
Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Tlalpan, CDMX)
Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Miguel Angel Chua Ortiz, 4TH: Oscar Mejia Garcia
All-time record: Club América holds a decisive edge over all competitions, winning 42 to Santos’ 20 while the clubs have drawn 19 times since their first meeting back in 1988. Outside of Liga MX play, these teams have met in several competitions. The teams met in a pre-Copa Libertadores match in 1998 that Santos won 1-0. They met in the Interliga in 2010 that América won 3-1. Santos won the 2014 Campeón de Campeones 1-0 while América knocked Santos out of the CCL Semifinal in 2016, and each team has one win in Copa MX play from the 2017 Clausura, The last time the teams met, América won 1-0 on April 27 when Emanuel Aguilera converted a penalty in the 14th minute.
Santos Laguna (9W 3D 3L) is in the driver’s seat heading into Week 17, two points clear of their closest rivals for the superlíder. Club América (7W 7D 2L) is one of those teams, and will look to replace Santos at the top of the table heading into the penultimate week of the season. The teams will face off in the historic Estadio Azteca this evening.
Santos won their last match at home, a nervy 1-0 win over a very good Querétaro (8W 3D 4L) team. Santos was able to get a goal in the 16th minute and then was able to grind the match almost to a halt, defending and keeping Los Gallos Blancos off of the scoresheet. They were able to successfully eschew their normal attacking style of play in favor of strictly defending, and it was devastatingly effective. Querétaro managed just two shots on goal for the entire game, never really threatening Santos.
The focus on defending could be a harbinger of what they’re planning to do against América. The Azteca is no easy place to play and América is undefeated at home this season, compiling a record of 5W 3D 0L and scoring 18 goals while conceding just 8. América is fifth in team goals scored with 26 despite its highest goalscorer being Henry Martín with just five.
América’s defense has been stingy too, allowing just 20 goals and getting a shutout in their last two consecutive matches. América has one of the best defensive midfielders in the world in Guido Rodríguez, whose two-way skills make him a regular call-up to the Argentina National Team.
I think this match will be one of the best of the season and a real chess match between two very good teams with very good managers. It will be interesting to see how both teams approach the match and how they adjust during the match. This could be decided by the slimmest of margins, and with the superlíder on the line the pressure will be ratcheted up even more than normal.