Match: Atletico de San Luis vs. Tigres UANL
Date: Saturday, August 17th
Time: 6:00pm Eastern, 5:00pm Central, 3:00pm Pacific, 10:00pm UTC
Venue: Estadio Alfonso Lastras (San Luis Potosí)
Referees: Ref: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carillo, AR2: José de Jesús Baños Caballero
TV: United States - None; Mexico - ESPN2
Atlético de San Luis stormed their way into the Liga MX on the back of consecutive Ascenso MX title winning campaigns - the second of which saw the team from San Luis Potosí go undefeated. Ahead of their first season in the top flight, San Luis strengthened their squad with a variety of transfers - the majority of which came from the Argentina. Midfielder Camilo Mayada was signed for free from Argentine giants River Plate, central-defender Joaquín Laso signed on a free transfer from Vélez Sarsfield, and winger Ricardo Centurión joined on loan from champions Racing Club. San Luis also received reinforcements from parent club Atlético de Madrid in the form of Argentine striker Nicolas Ibañez and goalkeeper Axel Werner on season long loans.
With each new signing, the hype around Atlético de San Luis only seemed to grow larger and larger. Pundits across both Mexico and the USA began to pick the squad from San Luis as their surprise team ahead of the season. However, through their first three weeks of Liga MX action, Atlético de San Luis looks anything like the surprise team of the season. If anything, they look like a team that is struggling to find their identity and adapt to life in the top flight of Mexican fútbol. Through their first three matches of the season, the Liga MX newcomers have used three different lineups and formations with limited success across the board.
In their first match in Liga MX, Atlético de San Luis came out very defensively against Pumas UNAM and ended up paying the price as they gave up two goals late in the match. San Luis never really looked comfortable in the match and struggled to generate much of anything when they were in possession of the ball.
Against Rayados de Monterrey, San Luis looked much more competent offensively. Atlético de San Luis came out in 4-4-1-1 formation and looked to counterattack off of turnovers in the midfield. This counter attacking style of play payed off in the 18th minute as Matías Catalán fired home a shot from distance. The early goal ended up being the difference as San Luis were able to hold Monterrey to just one shot on target throughout the match.
Chivas took the opportunity to bring the Liga MX newcomers back to reality in Jornada 4 with a 3-0 victory at home. Atlético de San Luis looked completely off balance playing in a 4-4-2 formation and were punished within the first 20 minutes on a goal from ‘Chofis’ Lopez. The match began to even itself out with the visitors growing back into the match before Chivas managed to find the back of the net two more times in the second half to put the match away.
Tigres, on the other hand, come into Saturday afternoon’s matchup in their best form of the young season. André-Pierre Gignac became the club’s all-time leading scorer with a late header against Pumas UNAM two weeks ago and then extended his lead atop the goalscoring charts with a hat-trick against Necaxa last weekend. The Frenchman looks to be in unstoppable goalscoring form - something that usually spells defeat for opposing teams.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that André-Pierre Gignac is in top goalscoring form, Tigres appear to have sorted out some of the defensive issues that cost them points in a defeat against Chivas in Jornada 2. Given the amount of talent in the squad, it is always hard to break down Tigres defensively. However, it is even harder when the team plays with confidence as they have shown these past two weeks.
Tigres should very much be the team on the front foot in this match. It is likely that los Felinos will have the vast majority of the possession as Atlético de San Luis will most likely play very defensively. Expect André-Pierre Gignac to be double or triple marked every time he enters the area. If San Luis are able to shut down Gignac, they might just have a chance to grab a point from the match. However, they must also content with Inner Valencia, Edu Vargas, and Luis Quiñones in the star studded attack. Forgetting about any one of them could be disastrous for Atlético de San Luis.