Game: Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, April 27th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Tlalpan, CDMX)
Referees: REF: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Enríque Isaac Bustos Díaz, AR2: Jimmy Acosta Montesinos, 4TH: Brian Omar Gonzalez Veles
The Guillermo Almada era got underway for Santos Laguna (5W 4D 6L) last week with a 2-1 win over Querétaro (2W 2D 11L), getting Los Guerreros back on track and keeping their Liguilla hopes alive. Almada will face a much more formidable foe this week, heading to Estadio Azteca to face Miguel Herrera and Club América (7W 2D 6L).
Santos looked much more threatening offensively under Almada, preferring to stay compact and leave space between the outside backs and wingers and the touch line. Julio Furch and Javier Correa also looked to get quality touches even if their names didn’t appear on the scoresheet at the final whistle. A shot by Correa was credited as an autogol by goalkeeper Gil Alcalá, and Furch’s cross in toward Correa minutes later deflected off of defender Víctor Milke for another autogol.
There were still some bugs to work out of the system however. Santos conceded possession to a bad Querétaro team, and out of their 15 total shots, 11 were off target. But a win is a win, and the play on the field by and large passed the eye test.
Santos will face an América team that has seemingly started to unravel a bit. A few weeks ago Las Águilas were riding high, in fourth place on the table and lifting the Copa MX trophy. In their last three Liga MX matches, América has lost to Tijuana (7W 1D 7L) and Toluca (6W 3D 6L) by 3-2 scorelines and drawn Cruz Azul (7W 5D 3L) 0-0. Miguel Herrera has been increasingly frustrated, lashing out at referees and drawing the ire of the Comisión Disciplinaria. His comments after the loss to Toluca earned him an undisclosed fine, however he avoided a suspension and will be available to manage the match.
América has performed well at home this season however, with a 5W 1D 2L record. Nicolás Castillo has finally found his scoring touch, netting four goals in his last eight games. He hasn’t scored however since the Clásico Nacional back in Week 11, and there’s been a bit of a vacuum in that time. Guido Rodríguez had a brace against Tijuana, and Roger Martínez scored against Toluca, but Rodríguez is a central defensive midfielder and Martínez has been more of a bench option than a first choice for Herrera.
Both teams know the importance of this game, and both have players that have underperformed in the past few weeks that are perfectly capable of seizing the opportunities presented to their team.