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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Club Atlético de San Luis

Santos quest for a seventh star begins at home with a repechaje match against San Luis.

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Carlos Acevedo, goalkeeper of Santos, controls the ball during the 17th round match between Santos Laguna and Atletico San Luis as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on November 7, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Atlético de San Luis

Date: Saturday, November 20th

Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Enedina Caudillo Gómez, 4TH: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, VAR: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AVAR: Oscar Mejia Garcia

Television: United States - FS1, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - TUDN

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

All-time record: This will be just the fifth time San Luis and Santos have met in Liga MX play, with Santos winning twice, San Luis winning once, and the teams playing to their only draw, a 0-0 tie two weeks ago in Torreón. The teams have met four times before in Copa MX play, with each team winning once and the teams drawing twice.

Guillermo Almada, coach of Santos looks on prior the 11th round match between Pumas UNAM and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Olimpico Universitario Stadium on November 04, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Guillermo Almada will be leading Santos to their fifth trip to the postseason in his six seasons at the club.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Santos starts their 2021 Apertura postseason exactly how they ended the regular season, by hosting Atlético San Luis. Santos ended the season a bit flat, getting just one win in their final five matches when just four more points would have had them in the Liguilla directly. They will have the advantage of hosting the repechaje game in Torreón, which has been a fortress for the club for the past several years.

They’ll also be almost fully healthy, with Jonathan Díaz and Jesús Isijara being the only definite scratches and Alessio Da Cruz being questionable, as he’s listed as being in physical conditioning after suffering an injury against Toluca in Week 15. Having Da Cruz back even as an option off of the bench would be a huge lift to the club. With leading goal scorer Diego Valdés and second leading goal scorer Fernando Gorriarán playing during the international break with the Chile and Uruguay national teams respectively and flying back from South America, having a proven threat able to come in to give Valdés and Gorriarán a rest would be huge. Félix Torres and Ayrton Preciado were also in South America for CONMEBOL qualifiers with the Ecuador national team.

Last time out, Santos was able to keep Germán Berterame well under control and kept San Luis off of the scoreboard.
Last time out, Santos was able to keep Germán Berterame well under control and kept San Luis off of the scoreboard.
Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos was able to neutralize San Luis’ offense, which was their downfall all season. The draw two weeks ago was Atleti’s eighth time being shutout in the seventeen games in the season. Santos was able to accomplish this by retaining possession for long stretches of time and when they did lose it, choking passing lanes to ensure San Luis wasn’t able to actually do much of anything with the ball.

They were able to cut service off to Germán Berterame, who tied Nicolás “El Diente” López with nine goals to lead the league during the regular season. Berterame was barely noticeable on the pitch last time out, and Santos’ defense will need to make sure he’s locked down much in the same manner.

While the playoffs are always a different animal, Santos has a lot of advantages heading into this. They’re almost fully healthy, and despite having four players who were playing in South America over the break, the majority of the squad should be well-rested and ready to go. And they’re playing at home, which has always played well in their favor. But anything can and does happen in the playoffs.