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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Toluca

Santos might be getting some key players back while Toluca will be missing some of theirs.

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Fernando Gorriaran #11 of Santos Laguna celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 14th round match between America and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Fernando Gorriaran #11 of Santos Laguna celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 14th round match between America and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, October 24th

Time: 8:06 p.m. Eastern, 7:06 p.m. Central, 5:06 p.m. Pacific, 12:06 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, AR2: Jonathan Maximiliano Gómez, 4TH: Juan Andres Esquivel Gonzalez, VAR: Angel Monroy Bello, AVAR: Jonhatan Benjamín Hernández Juárez

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - TUDN

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Sling TV (Subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Toluca holds the all time record across all competitions, winning 32 games to Santos’ 29, with 23 draws between the clubs. The clubs have only met outside of Liga MX on three occasions, with Santos winning their meeting in the 2003-04 Interliga 2-0, Santos beating Toluca 2-1 and Toluca beating Santos 2-0 in the 2018 Copa MX Apertura tournament. The last time the clubs met, Santos won 3-1 in Torreón on April 18 thanks to a brace from Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre and a goal from Juan Ferney Otero while Alexis Canelo scored the lone goal for Toluca. Notably, Toluca defeated Santos in the 2000 Verano tournament for their sixth title and in the 2010 Bicentenario for their tenth and most recent title. Santos however won their sixth and most recent title against Toluca in the 2018 Clausura.

Carlos Acevedo has missed the last seven games for Santos, but has been in practice and could return this weekend.
Carlos Acevedo has missed the last seven games for Santos, but has been in practice and could return this weekend.
Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos comes into the match with Toluca in a precipitous spot. Entering the week in the 12th and final spot for the repechaje, the good news is that they’ve been playing relatively well and still have a game in hand. The remaining games are against Querétaro, Pumas, and Atlético San Luis, with only Querétaro entering the week in the postseason. The bad news is that they will face Querétaro and Pumas on the road, and have to host a good Toluca team tonight.

Santos will be without attacking midfielder Diego Valdés, who was red carded in the loss against América earlier in the week. Brian Lozano, Carlos Acevedo, and Andrés Ibargüen have all missed time but should be back soon, and Lozano and Acevedo have been photographed taking part in practice this week. Getting either back would be a massive boost to the team.

Toluca will be missing their captain Rubens Sambueza, out for yellow card accumulation.
Toluca will be missing their captain Rubens Sambueza, out for yellow card accumulation.
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Toluca will be missing Rubens Sambueza, who is out due to yellow card accumulation. Sambueza is Toluca’s leading scorer with four goals, and his creativity and ability to get under the skin of his opponents will be sorely missed by Toluca. Head coach Hernán Cristante and forward Oscar Ortega, who has three goals on the season, will also miss the match due to red cards in Toluca’s last match against Necaxa. They still have Ian González and Alexis Canelo who also have three goals on the season and will need to step up.

Toluca is winless in their last five and has struggled on the road lately, dropping their last two to Rayados and Chivas by 2-0 scores in each match. Toluca has also historically struggled in Torreón, not winning a regular season match there since November 3, 2004. It will be an uphill battle for Toluca, but not an impossible one.

Santos will need to capitalize on a weakened Toluca team and do a professional job to pick up three critical points. Santos can still skip the repechaje and make the Liguilla, but they can’t afford to leave points on the table.