Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Universidad Nacional A. C.
Date: Saturday, February 1st
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio TSM Corona (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Oscar Mejia Garcia, AR1: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, AR2: Miguel Ángel Chua Ortiz, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe
All-time record: Pumas holds the all time record, winning 30 to Santos’ 21 with 20 draws across all competitions. Their only meetings outside of Liga MX play have been this year’s Copa MX matches which Santos won 5-4 on aggregate, winning the first leg 4-2 and losing the second 2-1. Their last Liga MX meeting was on September 28 in CU, with Pumas winning 2-0 on goals from Carlos González and David Cabrera. The last Liga MX match at TSM was a much different story however, with Santos winning 5-2 with a brace from Julio Furch and goals from Diego Valdés, Marlos Moreno, and Matheus Dória for Santos and Ignacio Malcorra and Andrés Iniestra for UNAM.
For the third time in two weeks, Santos Laguna (1W 0D 2L) will face off against UNAM Pumas (2W 1D 0L). This will be the second time in that span they meet in Torreón, having already played a home-and-home series for the Copa MX Round of 16.
Santos enjoys a home field advantage like few other teams, suffering defeat in regular season play just twice over the past three seasons. Guillermo Almada’s high press has been particularly effective, with Santos winning the superlíder in his first full season in charge of the club. The club has also committed its future to some of the team’s core players, with Brian Lozano, Jonathan Orozco, and Ulíses Rívas all extending their contracts.
It hasn’t been totally smooth sailing however. Santos has lost both games they’ve played on the road, losing to Tijuana (1W 1D 1L) and Cruz Azul (1W 0D 2L) so far this season. In all three games this season they’ve given up two or more goals, and even a home field advantage can’t always overcome conceding two goals. This is wholly unsustainable for the team if they’re to make the Liguilla let alone challenge for the superlíder. The defensive unit will be thoroughly challenged against a Pumas team that’s scored seven goals in three games this season.
Pumas comes into the match as the superlíder, a place they haven’t been much in recent memory. This season though they’ve gotten good performances from key players, and so far it’s been scoring by committee, as only Juan Pablo Vigon has more than one goal on the season in league play.
That said, they’ve gotten those good performances against Pachuca (0W 1D 2L) and Monterrey (0W 1D 1L) at home, with a 4-4 barnburner in their only road game against FC Juárez (1W 1D 1L). Santos will be their toughest test yet in league play, and it’s not close.
While some things can be gleaned from the Copa MX matches, these should not be conflated with matches with full first team squads. Neither team rolled out their best eleven, and it will be a treat to see how the previous and current superlíders stack up against one another.