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Match preview: Toluca vs Pumas

Pumas travels to Toluca in a game that was moved up a day because of the Copa MX schedule.

Pumas UNAM v Toluca - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Carlos Ramirez/Getty Images

Pumas has a tough hurdle for their status as the only undefeated team in Liga MX when they travel to Toluca. It will be an odd match as Toluca had to move their normal kickoff time of Sunday at noon (the same that Pumas had) to Saturday at 5:00 PM because of their Copa MX match being played on Tuesday. Pumas will face a tough match against Toluca as they try for their first away win of the season while Toluca hope to get back to their winning ways and also get their first home win of the season.

Pumas has surprised with such a positive start. With very little confidence in the players signed Pumas was expected to have a lackluster season, something which has been normal with them. Yet Pumas now sits in second place with the only undefeated record in the league. Pumas has continued it’s strong showing at home with nine points out of nine, something that has been a constant during Coach Michel’s tenure at the team. Yet it has gotten two away ties at tough venues against FC Juarez and Santos. It will be also tough at Toluca, where Pumas has historically suffered. Pumas will need to improve from past performances, where their defense has left a lot to be desired away from home. It was a problem in Ciudad Juarez, but not so much in Torreon the second time around. Lots of eyes will be on Pumas to see if they can click on offense and if new signing Juan Ignacio Dinenno can play with Carlos Gonzalez. Coming in as a sub last week, Dinenno was able to score his first Liga MX goal so a start would make things interesting. Coach Michel however might not want to tinker with the good thing that has been his starting lineup so far.

While Toluca hasn’t had as good a start, they have shown some good things under new Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre and with Tigres loanee Leonardo Fernandez making a splash with his long range shots. Toluca has been lacking at home where it has yet to get a victory. In fact Toluca came within seconds from getting two losses at home if it wasn’t by a last minute goal from Fernandez off a mistake of Cruz Azul’s keeper Jesus Corona. Still they are a tough team that historically has been strong at home. While they might miss their 12:00 PM Sunday start time, they would do so against the other team that plays at that time, which would have neutralized the advantage. Toluca has a tough task but it’s more than capable of ending Pumas undefeated streak.

Pumas and Toluca face a key matchup. Pumas has their undefeated record on the line and the need to prove they aren’t just a home team, while Toluca needs to get back to being a good home team by getting a win at home. Both teams look solid in their approach, which might neutralize each other and it wouldn’t be surprising if another tie is on their respective paths.