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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Pachuca

Santos play their second of three straight matches at their fortress TSM, hosting a sound Pachuca side.

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Santos Laguna v Tijuana - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, October 18th

Time: 8:06 p.m. Eastern, 7:06 p.m. Central, 5:06 p.m. Pacific, 12:06 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Telly Salvador Saldivar Guzman, AR2: Jimmy Acosta Montesinos, 4TH: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, VAR: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto, AVAR: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures

Television: United States - Fox Sports 2; Mexico - Fox Sports 2; Belize - Fox Sports 2; Costa Rica - Fox Sports 2; Dominican Republic - Fox Sports 2; El Salvador - Fox Sports 2; Guatemala - Fox Sports 2; Honduras - Fox Sports 2; Nicaragua - Fox Sports 2; Panama - Fox Sports 2; Venezuela - Fox Sports 2

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

All-time record: The teams are deadlocked, with each winning 21 with 21 draws between them across all competitions. Santos has a 20 to 18 lead in Liga MX play, with 18 draws. The teams met when were both in the Segunda División A (now Ascenso MX), with Pachuca winning twice, Santos winning once, and the clubs drawing once over the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons. The clubs also drew 1-1 in the 2008-09 SuperLiga and met in the 2018 Apertura Copa MX tournament, with Pachuca winning once and the teams drawing once as well. In their last match in Pachuca, Tuzos won 1-0 on a Colin Kazim-Richards goal. The last time the teams met in Torreón, where the clubs played to a 2-2 draw back on September 15, 2019. Pachuca got goals from Gustavo Cabral and Edwin Cardona while it was Julio Furch’s brace that got the draw for the home side.

Santos Laguna v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX
Octavio Rivero has three goals in his last seven matches for Santos Laguna.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos Laguna (5W 3D 5L) will play the second of three consecutive home matches when they host Pachuca (5W 5D 3L) on Sunday night. Since their September 12 2-0 loss to Tigres (6W 5D 2L) Santos has been on fire, winning three straight and scoring six goals while allowing just one. The back four of David Andrade, Matheus Dória, Hugo Rodríguez, and Josecarlos Van Rankin has clicked, providing a solid foundation for young goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo to flourish (and reportedly find himself on Tata Martino’s radar).

The offense too has found its spark. While still scoring-by-committee, the committee is actually scoring. In the past three matches, Gael Sandoval has scored twice and would have had a third had Tijuana (4W 2D 7L)’s Vladimir Loroña not stepped in front of him and scored an own goal. Julio Furch has gotten in on the action too, albeit converting a penalty against Puebla (4W 2D 7L). With Santos playing well on both sides of the ball, their fans should be able to gloss over at least some of the malaise of the early parts of this season.

Pachuca v Toluca - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX
Víctor Dávila’s five goals have him tied for seventh place among all goalscorers in Liga MX.
Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pachuca however should be a much stiffer challenge than the last three teams they’ve faced. Unlike those last three teams, Pachuca has won more than they’ve lost and sit ahead of Santos in the table. Víctor Dávila has had a breakout season, scoring five goals for the first time since the 2018 Apertura when he was with Necaxa.

Pachuca’s defense has also risen to the occasion. Goalkeeper Oscar Ustari and the defense have had five shutouts this season so far, and the back line of Kevin Alvarez, Oscar Murillo, Gustavo Cabral have brought out the best of a revolving cast at full back opposite of Alvarez, who has played both right and left back in the past few weeks.

While there are differences in style of play, these two teams are both about equal in terms of how well they’ve been playing lately. The biggest factor could be playing in Torreón, even if fans won’t be allowed inside of the building like in Mazatlán and Aguascalientes. Both teams should get a good test from this match, and any points are sure to be hard won.