Game: Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Tuesday, January 19th
Time: 8:05 p.m. Eastern, 7:05 p.m. Central, 5:0 p.m. Pacific, 12:05 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Tlalpán, D.F.)
Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Leonardo Javier Castillo Rodríguez, 4TH: Guillermo Pacheco Larios, VAR: Gerardo Martínez Bravo, AVAR: Oscar Mejia Garcia
All-time record: Club América holds a decisive edge over all competitions, winning 43 to Santos’ 21 while the clubs have drawn 20 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 at Estadio Azteca, América got a solid 3-1 win 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, they drew 1-1 back on January 31st with Henry Martin and Santiago Muñoz scoring for América and Santos respectively.
After salvaging a tough draw against Pachuca, Santos heads to the historic Estadio Azteca to take on Club América. While Santos does have a game in hand against América, they’re also eight points behind the first placed Águilas, leaving them in tenth and in a dogfight to stay in the Liguilla conversation.
To complicate matters, Santos will be without Brian Lozano and Andrés Ibargüen, who will miss another week or so with a hamstring and calf injury respectively. Carlos Acevedo’s return is questionable, however Gibran Lajud has been playing well and Joel García was on the bench in the match against Pachuca. And Ignacio Jeraldino might be out as well, having pulled up late in the match and having to be substituted off. He was however photographed in team training on Sunday, so his status is questionable as well.
The good news is that Fernando Gorriarán, Diego Valdés, and Ayrton Preciado saw limited minutes as subs in the match and Félix Torres was not selected at all after the quartet were away with their national teams for CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
Santos has to do a much better job of playing from whistle-to-whistle and getting off to a good start. In their past five matches they’ve allowed the other team to score first four times. In those four times, they’ve lost twice and drawn twice, having to fight back to savage draws in the 88th and 89th minutes against Puebla and Pachuca respectively.
They simply can’t allow América to go up first. América has won five of their six home matches, getting a 0-0 draw in the Clásico Nacional against Chivas in the other. They’ve allowed one goal in those six matches, all the way back in their Week 2 home opener against Necaxa. Since then, they’ve been lights out and will host a Santos side that’s 10th in the league with 14 goals scored.
América is fourth in goals scored with 17, however they’re doing it a bit differently than in years past. While historically they’ve relied on one or two goalscorers to bear the load, this season they don’t have anyone in the top ten, with Roger Martínez, Alvaro Fidalgo, and Salvador Reyes sharing the top goalscoring mantle with three each. They’re also second in goals conceded, allowing just seven in thirteen games.
It will be a very tough test for Santos, but not an impossible one. Their defense has been solid, and with a (relatively speaking) rested Félix Torres joining the back line, they have a defensive unit that can shut down the best of them. But they’ll have to be on their best game from the start in order to get a point against América.