Game: Club Puebla vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Friday, October 2nd
Time: 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 7:30 p.m. Central, 5:30 p.m. Pacific, 12:30 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Cuauhtémoc (Puebla, Pue.)
Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, AR2: Cesar Cerritos García, 4TH: Adalid Maganda Villalva, VAR: Carlos Ayala Cuéllar, AVAR: Christian Adrián Ramírez Tejeda
All-time record: Santos holds the all time record across all competitions, winning 26 to Puebla’s 15 with 22 draws. The only time the clubs have met outside of Liga MX play was a wild win by Santos in the 2014 Apertura Copa MX Final in penalties. The last time the clubs met, the clubs played to a 2-2 draw back on February 7 at Estadio Cuauhtémoc. Julio Furch scored for Santos, who were helped by an Alan Acosta autogol, while Puebla got a goal from Osvaldo Martínez as well as a stoppage time game-tying score from Cristian Menéndez.
After an unplanned week off thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak with Club Tijuana (4W 1D 6L), Santos Laguna (3W 3D 5L) gets back into action as they travel to Puebla to face the eponymous Puebla F.C. (4W 2D 6L). Santos comes in having won on the road for the first time since February, and they’ll be going up against a Puebla team who have outperformed most expectations so far.
Santos looked good in their match against Toluca (4W 2D 6L) two weeks ago, moving the ball well and putting up a dominant performance on the road for the first time in ages. Gael Sandoval and Octavio Rivero scored for Santos, who have become increasingly reliant on a scoring-by-committee model. When it works, there are usually too many bases to try and cover for opposing teams and someone can break free. When it doesn’t, everyone just assumes someone else is picking up the burden and no one actually does.
Defensively Santos was able to play well with a lead, which is something they’ve struggled with at times this season. Carlos Acevedo looked great in goal and would have had a shutout were it not for a a late goal from Michael Estrada. They’ll need to be even more focused on the defensive effort, as Puebla currently is sixth in overall team goal scoring with 18 on the season.
Leading the way for Puebla’s offense is Santiago Ormeño, who has four goals in eight games. Ormeño has toiled for nine years in various youth and second division teams before getting a real shot at a starting job this season, and he’s making the most of his opportunity. He’s joined by Christian Tabó, who has struggled to find the back of the net this season but is always dangerous.
Puebla’s defense has really been their weakness however. Goalkeeper Nicolás Vikonis is a decent option in net, but the defense in front of him doesn’t always look like a cohesive unit. If they can’t stay on the same page, they may have significant problems with Santos’ scoring-by-committee model of offense.
If Santos is going to make the Liguilla, which is very much not a given at this moment, they will need to beat teams like Puebla. This would be a perfect game for Julio Furch to bust out of his current slump. Puebla meanwhile needs to answer some questions about why it deserves to be taken seriously as a Liguilla contender. If they make the playoffs this season, it’ll be the first time since the 2015 Apertura, so there is a lot riding on this match for both teams. It should be a fun one to kick the week off with.