Game: Club de Fútbol Pachuca vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, March 7th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Hidalgo (Pachuca, Hgo.)
Referees: REF: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Cesar Cerritos García, 4TH: Lizzet Amairany García Olvera
Television: United States - TUDN, ESPN Deportes; Mexico - Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), TUDN En Vivo, ESPN+
All-time record: Santos holds the slight edge, winning 21 to Pachuca’s 20 with 21 draws between the teams across all competitions. Santos has a 20 to 17 lead in Liga MX play, with 18 draws. The teams met when were both in the Segunda División A (now Ascenso MX), with Pachuca winning twice, Santos winning once, and the clubs drawing once over the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons. The clubs also drew 1-1 in the 2008-09 SuperLiga and met in the 2018 Apertura Copa MX tournament, with Pachuca winning once and the teams drawing once as well. The last time the teams met was in Torreón, where the clubs played to a 2-2 draw back on September 15. Pachuca got goals from Gustavo Cabral and Edwin Cardona while it was Julio Furch’s brace that got the draw for the home side. The last time the clubs met in Pachuca, it ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to goals from Víctor “Pocho” Guzmán and Furch.
Just as Santos Laguna (4W 2D 2L) seems to have found their secret to success, an injury to a key player threatens to undo some of the positive steps forward they’ve taken. They head to Pachuca to face a Tuzos (3W 2D 3L) team that’s gotten points in four of their last five matches.
Pachuca has been able to get eight of a possible twelve points at home this season, and while they’ve got a decent pair up top in Franco Jara and Colin Kazim-Richards, their offense ranks 14th with just eight goals. Their defense has been their strength, allowing just nine goals, tying them for fourth overall with Chivas (3W 3D 2L). Since taking the reigns in goal in Week 6 goalkeeper Oscar Ustari has allowed just one goal, a 90th minute equalizer from Querétaro’s (4W 2D 2L) Clifford Aboagye.
The three games have all come against Querétaro who is on the Liguilla bubble, and against Atlas (2W 0D 6L) and Puebla (3W 1D 4L) who are on the outside looking in. If Pachuca can get their offense more involved while their defense performs against a good team like Santos, it’s not a stretch to consider them a legitimate threat in the Liguilla.
Santos however have recently been able to put it all together. While they’ve always been fearsome at home, they’ve now gotten points in their last five including a 2-2 draw against Puebla and a 2-1 win over FC Juárez (4W 2D 2L). The offense has started to click, and while the defense had gotten off to a shaky start has been solid.
This could all change, as early in the last match against Atlas center backs Matheus Dória and Félix Torres clashed heads. Torres had to wear a shower cap for the rest of the game due to a cut on his head, however Dória was immediately taken out of the game, his face and shirt covered in blood. Dória has been a rock on defense, and it will be up to Torres and Hugo Rodríguez (who was suspended for the Atlas match) to continue the steady play along the back line ahead of Jonathan “Spider” Orozco.
On the offensive side of the ball, Julio Furch has just three goals on the season but looks more confident both on and off of the ball than he has in a while. He’s paired well with Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre up top, with both strikers able to create space for themselves and each other.
This should be a game where both teams’ strengths and weaknesses will play against one another, with both teams looking to prove something against a decent opponent. Not only are three points on the table for this one, but the confidence that comes from playing a solid opponent and getting a result.