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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. América

Two teams at different places in the maturation process face off as Santos hosts América.

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Santos Laguna v Pachuca - Playoff Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, January 31st

Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Diego Montaño Robles, AR1: José Alfredo López Cruz, AR2: Leonardo Javier Castillo Rodríguez, 4TH: Victor Alfonso Caceres Hernandez, VAR: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AVAR: Marcos Quintero Huitron

Television: United States - Fox Sports 2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - Fox Sports 2; Belize - FOX Sports 2; Costa Rica - FOX Sports 2; Dominican Republic - FOX Sports 2; El Salvador - FOX Sports 2; Guatemala - FOX Sports 2; Honduras - FOX Sports 2; Nicaragua - FOX Sports 2; Panama - FOX Sports 2; Venezuela - FOX Sports 2

Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Free trial + monthly subscription)

All-time record: Club América holds a decisive edge over all competitions, winning 43 to Santos’ 21 while the clubs have drawn 19 times since their first meeting back in 1988. Outside of Liga MX play, these teams have met in several competitions. The teams met in a pre-Copa Libertadores match in 1998 that Santos won 1-0. They met in the Interliga in 2010 that América won 3-1. Santos won the 2014 Campeón de Campeones 1-0 while América knocked Santos out of the CCL Semifinal in 2016, and each team has one win in Copa MX play from the 2017 Clausura, The last time the teams met, América got a solid 3-1 win at Estadio Azteca thanks to a brace from Roger Martínez and a goal from Federico Viñas, while Fernando Gorriarán got Santos’ lone goal of the evening. In their last meeting in Torreón the teams played to a 1-1 draw back on November 11, 2018. Julio Furch scored for the hosts, while Bruno Valdez equalized in the 61st for the draw.

Santos Laguna v Tigres UANL - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX
Santos’ Guillermo Almada has his team playing as a strong, cohesive unit.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Tied for top of the table on points with Toluca (2W 1D 0L), Santos Laguna (2W 1D 0L) returns to TSM to host Club América (2W 0D 1L). While América has historically had Santos’ number, Santos’ prowess at home is well documented and América lost their only game on the road 1-0 to Monterrey (2W 0D 0L).

Santos has done well this season playing smart, counterattacking soccer. They don’t give up a lot of chances, don’t take a lot of dumb fouls, and the team is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. While goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo and midfielder Fernando Gorriarán are stars in the making, their claims to fame is yeoman’s work they do. Acevedo makes brilliant saves look routine while Gorriarán’s energy on both sides of the ball has become the heartbeat of the team.

Monterrey v America - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Santiago Solari’s América has so far been a work in progress.
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

América is still trying to figure out who they are under new manager Santiago Solari. The pieces left from last season under manager Miguel Herrera are largely still there and very good, but Solari seems to still be figuring out exactly what he wants from them.

Goalkeeper Memo Ochoa is a critical part of América’s play, showing no signs of slowing down at 35 years of age. Sebastián Córdova is also becoming a critical part of América’s midfield, and at just 23 years of age he’s showing he might be one of the brightest players on a team full of stars.

This should be a very good game between two teams that are very good for very different reasons. Santos’ cohesiveness and level of play in their own building is formidable. América’s talented but hasn’t shown the same cohesiveness or steady commitment to a style of play, at least not yet. This will be a tough test for both teams and could create momentum that will carry throughout the season.