Game: Club de Fútbol Monterrey vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, August 8th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, N.L.)
Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Miguel Angel Chua Ortiz, 4TH: Mario Humberto Vargas Mata, VAR: Carlos Ayala Cuéllar, AVAR: Fabrice Paul Plancon-jallet
All-time record: Monterrey holds the all time edge, winning 32 to Santos’ 25 while the teams have drawn 26 times. In Liga MX play, Monterrey holds the 27 to 22 advantage with 24 draws. In the playoffs, Monterrey won their fourth championship 5-3 on aggregate in the 2010 Apertura. Santos won their fourth championship 3-2 on aggregate in the 2012 Clausura. They also met in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Apertura with Monterrey winning that 3-0 on aggregate, and again in the 2019 Apertura quarterfinal round where Rayados advanced 6-3 on aggregate en route to their fifth championship.
The clubs have also met in the Copa MX, with Santos winning twice to Monterrey’s once as well as in Concacaf Champions League twice with Monterrey winning both the 2011-12 Final 3-2 on aggregate and the 2012-13 Final on 4-2 aggregate. The last time the clubs met in league play, Santos won 2-1 in Torreón back on August 23, 2019. The last time they met in league play in Monterrey, Monterrey won a decisive 4-0 victory thanks to a hat-trick from Rogelio Funes Mori.
Santos Laguna (1W 0D 1L) got a much needed morale-boosting win against Chivas (0W 1D 1L) last weekend, but they’ll be headed a few hours drive east to Monterrey to face Rayados (1W 0D 1L) who will provide a much sterner test to Los Guerreros. Santos looked great against the Goats, getting a brace from midfielder Fernando Gorriarán and Carlos Acevedo getting a clean sheet, stopping a penalty at the death to preserve it. Their counter-press ensured that Chivas had very few chances to create movement with the ball, and the defense was there to help out when Chivas was able to put together a chance.
The issue with this is that it was at Estadio Corona, where Santos hasn’t lost a league game since March 17, 2019. Since then, they’ve lost ten league games on the road including their last two straight. Santos will be without the services of center back Félix Torres, who picked up two yellow cards in their match against Chivas.
Awaiting them at El Gigante de Acero is Monterrey, who beat Toluca (1W 0D 1L) 3-1 at their home opener but then lost 1-0 to León (1W 1D 0L) in Guanajuato. Monterrey looks much improved over last season, where the club had been playing games pretty much straight through since July 2019 and looked physically exhausted in every match. The rested squad has been sharp, even in the loss to León. Rogelio Funes Mori had a brace in the win over Toluca, Avilés Hurtado had two assists, and the team looked a little rusty but they didn’t look tired.
Rayados are probably the deepest team in the league, as evidenced by their ability to bring players like Miguel Layún, Jonathan González, Aké Loba, and Maxi Meza off of the bench. Their big knock besides being fatigued has been their ability to put it all together and do it consistently.
This should be a good game between two teams with something to prove. Santos needs to prove they can get a point (at least) on the road, and Monterrey is a tough a place as any in the league. If they can get something here it would be a good boost to a team that had a lot of questions asked about its ability to compete after some turnover during the offseason. Monterrey on the other hand needs to play as well as they did in their prior two games if not better and not overthink things against a team that has room for improvement the road.