Game: Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Wednesday, April 3rd
Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Universitario (San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L.)
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.
Neither Tigres nor Santos had the best week after the international break, with the hosts losing to Club América 3-0 and the visitors losing to Atlas 1-0 in Liga MX play. Both will want to make up for the defeats with a mid-week win in the CCL Semifinal.
Tigres will have the decided advantage at El Volcán with the home crowd behind them, where they haven’t lost since January 19th. While they will most likely still be missing star forward André-Pierre Gignac, the forward pairing of Enner Valencia and Eduardo Vargas is as formidable as it comes. They do have weaknesses however, as the match against América proved. They appeared particularly susceptible to a quick counterattack and let in a goal off of a free kick - both areas where Santos can be dangerous.
Santos is close to a clean bill of health, with only Ayrton Preciado being questionable. Los Guerreros have the pieces to contend with any team, however they haven’t been able to put it all together with any regularity. Center backs Matheus Doría and Hugo Nervo will have their hands full with Tigres’ forwards, and either Javier Correa or Julio Furch (or both) simply has to start scoring goals with some consistency. That said, with Tigres’ aforementioned weaknesses look for José Juan “Gallito” Vázquez to be integral both on free kicks and on the transition from defense back on to offense.