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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. León

After a disappointing loss on the road, Santos returns to their fortress in the desert: TSM Corona.

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FBL-MEX-SANTOS-MONTERREY Photo by ANDRES GALINDO/AFP via Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club León

Date: Sunday, January 19th

Time: 7:45 p.m. Eastern, 6:45 p.m. Central, 4:45 p.m. Pacific, 12:45 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio TSM Corona (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, 4TH: Guillermo Pacheco Larios

Television: United States - Fox Sports 2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte

Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), FOX Sports GO

All-time record: León holds the all time, with 18 wins to Santos’ 15 and the clubs sharing 10 draws across all competitions. All of these results have come in Liga MX play except for one draw and one León win, which happened during the 1987-88 season of the Segunda División.

The last time the clubs met, the clubs played to a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp back on August 28. José Juan Macías and Ángel Mena scored for León while Julio Furch converted a penalty and Eryc “La Culebra” Castillo got the equalizer. The last time they met in Torreón, León came away with a 3-0 win thanks to a brace from Mena and a goal from William Tesillo.

Tijuana v Santos Laguna - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX
Earlier this week, Brian Lozano re-signed with Santos through 2022.
Photo by Fausto Vargas/Jam Media/Getty Images

After stumbling in the season opener against Club Tijuana, Santos Laguna returns home to face León in the final match of Week 2. León beat Querétaro 3-1 last week at the Nou Camp, getting two goals from Ángel Mena and another from Leonardo Ramos in the season opener.

Against Tijuana, Santos couldn’t get their playmakers involved in the play in the final third. Brian Lozano and Julio Furch struggled to get involved in the match for the most part, and the lone goal was a free kick bomb from center back Matheus Doría.

The good news is that the team will be back at the friendly confines of La Laguna Comarca, where they lost exactly once through all of 2019. Not playing on the artificial turf at Estadio Caliente and playing in a familiar time zone will certainly not hurt Santos’ preparat

Leon v Queretaro - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX
Ángel Mena (right) scored twice as León beat Querétaro in their season opener.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

León looked good in their first match since seeing José Juan Macías return to Chivas. As good as Macías is, León didn’t - and doesn’t - need to rely solely on one player. They’ve got a wealth of attacking options, with Leonardo Ramos up top and Mena, Ismael Sosa, and Jean Menenses comprising the attacking midfielders. Those four players combined for twenty goals last season, and it will be key for Santos’ defense to shut them down.

León must be cognizant that their strength in offense could be a weakness against Santos’ pressing and counterattacking system. Guillermo Almada’s team did well last season to absorb pressure and spring into the counter, looking for mismatches and opportunities to exploit the versatility of Santos’ forwards.