Game: Deportivo Toluca Fútbol Club S. A. de C. V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, November 24th
Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex)
Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, 4TH: Mario Humberto Vargas Mata
All-time record: Toluca holds the all time record across all competitions, winning 32 games to Santos’ 27, with 22 draws between the clubs. The clubs have only met outside of Liga MX on three occasions, with Santos winning their meeting in the 2003-04 Interliga 2-0, Santos beating Toluca 2-1 and Toluca beating Santos 2-0 in the 2018 Copa MX Apertura tournament. The last time the clubs met, Santos blew out Toluca 4-0 at TSM back on February 24th. The last time they met in Toluca it was Los Diablos Rojos coming out on top, downing Santos 2-1 in Estadio Nemesio Díez back on September 2, 2018. Notably, Toluca defeated Santos in the 2000 Verano tournament for their sixth title and in the 2010 Bicentenario for their tenth and most recent title. Santos however won their sixth and most recent title against Toluca in the 2018 Clausura.
Toluca () will face off against Santos () in the Sunday noon (Central Time) game at the historic Estadio Nemesio Díez. Los Diablos Rojos finish their season playing for pride, while Santos will finish their regular season having already clinched the superlíder.
Toluca may be forgiven for looking forward to the short offseason. Manager Ricardo La Volpe was shown the door back on November 11th, and although rumors have swirled about a return by José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre, nothing is official. Still, the players will want to give a good account of themselves and look to secure a position on the 2020 Clausura roster.
The roster isn’t devoid of talent but may nonetheless need some changes if Chepo (or any manager) will be able to succeed. Alfredo Talavera is a fixture in goal, but at 37 time is not on his side. William da Silva and Emmanuel Gigliotti are both 32, Richard Ruíz is 33, Jonatan Maidana is 34, and all of them have made 12 appearances or more this season.
Santos on the other hand is cruising into the Liguilla as one of the best teams in the league despite missing a key player down the stretch due to injury. Jonathan Orozco has been out since November 3 with an injury to his right adductor muscle, however 23 year old Carlos Acevedo has come in and lead the club to two consecutive wins over Club América () and Cruz Azul (). This is reminiscent of the 2018 Clausura, when Djaniny Tavares went down with a back injury but Santos managed to continue on and win the league.
Santos is getting good performances up and down the lineup and even from the bench. In addition to the aforementioned Acevedo, Octavio Rivero has come off of the bench nine times this season and scored two goals in the 109 minutes he’s seen. Santos is talented, deep, and dangerous.
It will be interesting to see if Orozco is healthy enough to play and gets what is effectively a tune-up game before the Liguilla. Guillermo Almada most likely won’t tinker too much with his lineup since the team is coming off of the international break and will want to get everyone back together before facing the eighth seeded team, whomever it is. Toluca on the other hand is anyone’s guess, with an interim manager and players who are auditioning for jobs next season.