Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, March 15th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio TSM Corona (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, AR2: Jimmy Acosta Montesinos, 4TH: Abraham De Jesús Quirarte Contreras, VAR: Adonai Escobedo González, AVAR: Fernando Hernandez Gomez
Radio: 92.3 FM (Torreón/Gómez Palacio/Lerdo)
All-time record: Necaxa holds the all-time record across all competitions with 25 wins to Santos’ 20, while the clubs have drawn 19 times. They still hold the edge in Liga MX play, with 24 wins to Santos’ 18 and 19 draws. The other matches were in the Copa MX, with Santos wining two and losing one to Los Rayos. In their last meeting, Necaxa beat Santos 3-0 at Estadio Victoria on a brace from Maximiliano Salas and a goal from Mauro Quiroga. The last time the clubs met at TSM was back on March 17, 2019 when Necaxa became the first team to beat Santos at home in almost a year, getting goals from Facundo Castro and Rodrigo Contreras to beat Santos 2-1. Julio Furch picked up Santos’ lone goal.
After a disappointing loss away at Pachuca (4W 2D 3L), Santos Laguna (4W 2D 3L) returns home to host Necaxa (3W 2D 4L). Los Rayos were the last away team to get a win at TSM, doing so almost a full year to the day prior.
Santos has been insurmountable at home, compiling a record this season of 3W 1D 0L at TSM. On the road has been a different story, where they’ve gone 1W 1D 3L and given up nine goals while scoring just five. Against Pachuca, the team performed well but ran into a Liga MX Best XI performance from goalkeeper Oscar Ustari and defender Oscar Murillo in a 1-0 loss. Ustari made six saves to keep Santos scoreless on the road for the second time in five games this season.
The good news is that Santos’ defense did well, especially with center back Matheus Dória missing the first of at least three games with facial injuries sustained in the win over Atlas (2W 0D 7L). Félix Torres, who had been benched in favor of Hugo Rodríguez, performed well next to Rodríguez. Look for Torres and Rodríguez to pair up again against Rayos.
On the other hand, Santos’ offense has to step up. With the renewed focus on playing defensively and using the counterattack, Los Guerreros have to convert the chances they’re given. They have plenty of offensive firepower, with Brian Lozano, Julio Furch, and young Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre leading the attack. If they can all get on the same page with midfielders Fernando Gorriarán, Ulíses Rívas, and Emilio Orrantía, this has the potential to be one of the most potent attacking units in the league.
Necaxa’s offense is plenty potent as-is, having scored 16 goals on the season thus far. The duo of Mauro Quiroga (5 goals) and Juan Delgado (4 goals) lead the team, but Maximiliano Salas (1 goal) has the potential to explode, as the Argentine forward scored six goals last season, his first in Liga MX after a stint with O’Higgins in Chile.
Necaxa’s only been able to get a win on the road twice this season. Last time out, they beat América (5W 2D 2L) 3-0 in a game that saw both Bruno Valdez and Santiago Cáseres sent off. The other match they won on the road was a 3-2 win against lowly Toluca (2W 4D 3L) in Week 1.
Santos should not underestimate Los Rayos. As their last meeting at TSM proved, they can’t take for granted that their home unbeaten streak will ensure that they’ll beat all comers. Santos needs to get their offense going in order to help relieve the pressure that Necaxa will surely place on their defense. In what could be the final week of play for a while, both teams will look to leave it all on the field in the desert Sunday night.