Game: Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, August 18th
Time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Central, 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Victoria (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Referees: REF: Alejandro Funk Villafañe, AR1: Andres Hernández Delgado, AR2: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, 4TH: Abraham de Jesús Quirarte Contreras
All-time record: Necaxa holds the all-time record across all competitions with 24 wins to Santos’ 20, while the clubs have drawn 19 times. They still hold the edge in Liga MX play, with 23 wins to Santos’ 18 and 19 draws. The other matches were in the Copa MX, with Santos wining two and losing one to Los Rayos. The last time the clubs met was back on March 17 in Torreón, and Necaxa became the first team to beat Santos at home in almost a year, getting goals from Facundo Castro and Rodrigo Contreras to beat Santos 2-1. Julio Furch picked up Santos’ lone goal. The last time the teams met at Estadio Victoria, Santos got a goal from Furch to win 1-0 on September 29, 2018.
The only team left with a perfect record, Santos Laguna (5W 0D 0L) will head to Aguascalientes to face Necaxa (1W 1D 2L) on Sunday evening. The hosts come in having lost 3-1 last week to Tigres in Nuevo León, falling victim to André-Pierre Gignac’s hat trick within the first 25 minutes of the match.
Necaxa has struggled for much of the season, with their only win being a 7-0 thrashing of Veracruz. Take that win out of the equation, and they’ve scored just one goal (the Ventura Alvarado penalty against Tigres) while giving up five. Maximiliano Salas is the only player to have scored more than one goal, both of which were against Veracruz. If there’s one thing that’s been made abundantly clear this season, there is a huge gulf between how poor Veracruz is and how good Santos is.
As a contrast to Necaxa, Santos is playing almost flawless soccer right now. They’ve outscored their opponents 12-2 in their four games, and have seen Brian Lozano blossom into the person tied atop Liga MX’s goalscoring table with Gignac. Lozano’s form has also earned him a call up to the Uruguay National Team for their upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and the United States.
Santos isn’t just one-dimensional with Lozano, however. Their defense has been equally as good as their offense. While Jonathan Orozco is a stellar goalkeeper, the low amount of saves that he’s had to make this season is a testament to Los Guerreros’ commitment to manager Guillermo Almada’s high press.
Still, Santos can not afford to take Necaxa lightly. They’ll be without center back Matheus Dória, who picked up a red card in the last match. Santos must go out and execute their game plan while refraining from making costly mistakes. If they can do that, they should be able to get a positive result.