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Match preview: UNAM Pumas vs Toluca

Pumas and Toluca return from the FIFA break as they face each other in the Estadio Olimpico Universitario.

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Pumas UNAM v Necaxa - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Pumas and Toluca return from the FIFA break to face each other in a tough matchup in the Estadio Olimpico Universitario. Last time out Pumas got a tough tie against their biggest rival Club America, while Toluca got a great victory at home over Cruz Azul that landed interim coach Carlos Adrian Morales the job for the rest of the season. With both teams playing in their regular hour, it’s set to be tough game for both sides.

Pumas has had a surprising season that had the team in first place at times and being the last undefeated team in Liga MX. Yet the season has had a little slowdown, with Pumas not having a win in the last three games including a draw at home against struggling Necaxa. Pumas though did improve against America however, where they twice had the lead and were able to hold on to the tie even after going down to ten players. They will also get the boost of the return of goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, who is back after national team duty. They should also have Carlos Gonzalez and Nicolas Freire back should they pass their COVID-19 tests. Yet Pumas has to improve in the mistakes of past games, especially the fact that in their last three winning less games, Pumas had a red card and played most of it with ten players. While Toluca hasn’t had the best of season, they are coming with a strong victory and they are the team who not only plays at the same time at home (12:00 PM) but there play in a city at a higher altitude, so conditions will not hurt them as much as other teams. Pumas will have to come out prepared against them.

Toluca’s season has been a disappointment. Their bad record forced the team to fire coach Jose Manuel de la Torre and name Carlos Adrian Morales as the interim coach. Morales started incredibly with a solid 2-0 victory at home against second placed Cruz Azul. The victory was good enough that although everything looked set for a return of ex-Coach Hernan Cristante, the team officials decided to stay with Morales. Thus he is set to show that it was the right decision and not a fluke. Toluca seems poised to improve and they will have the boost that striker Michael Estrada, who scored twice during the FIFA date in a 4-2 World Cup qualifier over Uruguay. It seems unfortunately for Pumas, they will face Toluca at the worst time.

Pumas and Toluca should be a very even battle. Pumas should be favored but they aren’t as favored as how they would be had they played in September. Toluca seems on the rise and Pumas needs to fix the mistakes but they will get the boost of the return of several key players especially Alfredo Talavera as he faces his old team for the first time. It should be an interesting came but harder to predict than usual.

Game: Club Universidad Nacional A.C. vs. Deportivo Toluca Fútbol Club S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, October 18th

Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 5:00 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Olímpico Universitario (Coyocán, D.F.)

Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Enríque Isaac Bustos Díaz, AR2: José Alfredo López Cruz, 4TH: Brian Omar Gonzalez Veles, VAR: Adonai Escobedo González, AVAR: Fabrice Paul Plancon-jallet

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