Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
Date: Wednesday, April 10th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
How they got here: Tigres is here by winning the 2017 Apertura. They defeated Costa Rica’s Saprissa 5-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16 and Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo 3-0 on aggregate in the Quarterfinals. Santos is participating by virtue of winning the 2018 Liga MX Apertura. They defeated Honduran champions CD Marathón by an 11-2 aggregate in the Round of 16 and the New York Red Bulls 6-2 on aggregate in the Quarterfinals. Tigres won the first leg at Estadio Universitario 3-0.
Down three goals to one of the best teams in North America, it would be easy to count Santos Laguna out. And to be fair Tigres UANL has been impressive lately, winning eight and drawing one out of their last ten matches in both Liga MX and the Concacaf Champions League.
Dig a little deeper however and it looks a little less like a certainty that Tigres will advance. Six of those wins were at Estadio Universitario. On the road over that stretch, Tigres was a less superhuman 2W 1D 1L, with the wins coming against the Houston Dynamo (3W 1D 0L in Major League Soccer) and Atlas (5W 1D 7L in Liga MX play). In Tigres’ only other road game in the CCL, they lost 1-0 to Deportivo Saprissa.
Estadio Corona TSM has also been a fortress for Santos. Santos has lost one match there this season and were able to get a 0-0 draw this past weekend against Pachuca (6W 3D 4L in Liga MX) despite being down a player for more than half of the match. Of course a 0-0 draw won’t help Santos here; they’ll need to score three just to push it to penalties.
Santos has scored three or more on four occasions, and three of them came during CCL play. They defeated CD Marathón 6-2 and 5-0 and the New York Red Bulls 4-2 (and for good measure beat Toluca 4-0 in the match between the legs against Marathón). And Tigres’ last loss was 3-0 against Club América on March 30.
It will be a tough challenge for Santos, perhaps tougher than any they’ve faced all year. But recent history from both teams proves that it won’t be impossible.