Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Universidad Nacional A. C.
Date: Sunday, May 5th
Time: 7:06 p.m. Eastern, 6:06 p.m. Central, 4:06 p.m. Pacific, 11:06 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto, AR1: Cesar Cerritos García, AR2: Manuel Alfonso Martinez Sanchez, 4TH: Fernando Hernandez Gomez
In the 1999 film adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club, Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden utters the line “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” While Santos Laguna and UNAM Pumas haven’t lost everything, both clubs are out of the Liguilla race and are in fact free to do anything.
Santos will be playing just their third match under new boss Guillermo Almada, and the players will all want to make a good account of themselves to secure spots on the roster for next season - even if it’s not Almada’s. Rumors are swirling around striker Julio Furch, with reports having the Argentine striker possibly on his way out during the offseason. Almada denied the rumors however, stating that Furch would be with the team next season unless they got an offer that was good enough for the striker.
Transfer speculation aside, Almada will doubtless be watching to see which players fit into his system. He seems to favor a compact style of play that moves the ball through the center of the pitch rather than the play along the wings that predecessors Robert Dante Siboldi and Salvador Reyes used during their tenures.
If you couldn't be at @TSMOficial yesterday for the 6th edition of #Guerreton ⚽, we've got you covered.— ClubSantosLaguna (@ClubSantosEn) April 23, 2018
Watch and see why they call it the most enjoyable toy drive in football.#GuerrerosDeCorazón pic.twitter.com/cMhkq4yvWe
Pumas are also finishing out their season with a different manager than they started the season with and a squad mostly full of question marks. Goalkeeper Alfredo Saldívar has been solid, as has forward Carlos González. Right back Alan Mozo has been great when Pumas breaks forward but his defense has been suspect at times. Ignacio Malcorra has been very good in fits and starts but he’ll be 32 at the start of next season. Juan Iturbe is as enigmatic as he has been at all nine of his other stops in his professional career.
Both Bruno Marioni and Guillermo Almada should use the opportunity this game provides to evaluate players and tinker somewhat with their systems. After all since they’ve lost a shot at the Liguilla, they’re free to do anything.
Also of note will be the halftime “Guerretón”, where fans in the stadium will throw stuffed animals onto the pitch that will be donated to local children. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a fun thing.