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Match preview: Pumas vs Atletico San Luis

Pumas will be favored against a struggling Atletico San Luis who will be missing players because of the COVID -19 virus.

Pumas UNAM v Atletico San Luis - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX
In the Clausura 2020, both teams were able to play and Pumas won by a 4-0 score
Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

For a second consecutive week, Pumas will play a COVID-19 ravaged team as they face Atletico San Luis on Sunday, hoping to continue their undefeated record. Ex-Pumas coach Guillermo Vasquez, the last Liga MX winner at Pumas, will have a tough task against his old team and will now face the struggles of having five players test positive for the COVID-19 virus prior to the game. Meanwhile Pumas will hope there is a similar score to earlier this year, when Atletico San Luis went to Mexico City and got crushed by Pumas by a score of 4-0.

Pumas came into the weekend as the Superlider to the surprise of most fans. With an interim coach that got the job because Michel Gonzalez left the team the week they started the season and with a squad largely considered average, Pumas still had a better record than most teams as the season progressed. Still things weren’t looking good on the field and the team was incredibly lucky. It wasn’t until a last minute goal from Carlos Gonzalez that got them a tie against Tigres that Pumas suddenly started to play according to their record and improve a lot. Since that game, they have won three straight games and have given their best performances. They just recently ended Santos 26 game undefeated streak at home by beating them on Wednesday with two great long range goals. Now, just like on Saturday when they crushed Puebla, they will face a team with numerous players missing because of positive COVID-19 tests. They will have to do so without Juan Iturbe, who had been key in the improvement and scored the best goal of the week on Wednesday but also came out of the game because of an injury that should keep him out on Sunday. They will also face a tough coach in Guillermo Vasquez, who according to reports might have his job in danger should he keep dropping points. Pumas should be favored, but the task will be tough.

Atletico San Luis has been one of the disappointments of the tournament. After getting a couple of signings including star striker Mauro Quiroga, it seemed like Guillermo Vasquez finally had the squad he needed to do a solid job in San Luis. Yet they have been totally inconsistent and there were strong rumors that Vasquez was coaching for his job on Tuesday when they face his old team Necaxa. San Luis was able to come back after trailing 1-0 to get a 2-1 victory and save his job, but now Vasquez would face another of his exes when he faces a Pumas team who is doing a lot better than Necaxa. It was going to be a tough hurdle regardless, but it will be even more difficult once San Luis announced that five players had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be out for the time being. The emotional hit is one thing, but we won’t know how it will affect his lineup since the names of the players weren’t released. It should be a lot tougher of a match, and San Luis now looks to be heavy underdogs.

Pumas will be coming in to this game as big as favorites as they have been of any game. Still a lot of things could be up in the air. They will be playing their third game in eight days, and will do so in the heat of Mexico City. They also have a tendency to drop their levels in these types of games like they did in their worst result so far in the season, when they tied 1-1 at home against a FC Juarez team that went down to nine players. They have also stumbled before this same year like in the Clausura 2020 when it was a struggling Morelia who came to Mexico City and gave Pumas their first loss of the season, to the surprise of most fans. Yet if we have something to compare to, it might be the last Saturday game where Puebla came in with six players missing because of COVID-19 and lost badly against Pumas. And they were having a better season than San Luis. Pumas should be careful, but they are heavy favorites while San Luis will look to make an upset that should certainly save Vasquez’s job.