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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. FC Juárez

After a trying week, Santos will look to get back to business against Juárez

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FC Juarez v Atlas - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Alejandro Rodriguez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, February 28th

Time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Central, 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Telly Salvador Saldivar Guzman, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe, VAR: Arturo Cruz Hurtado, AVAR: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava

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: Santos has never lost to FC Juárez, winning four and drawing three across all competitions. The last time the clubs met, goals from Dario Lezcano and Bryan Garnica saw them end in a 1-1 tie in Juárez back on September 4. The last time they met in Torreón was on July 28, 2018 and Santos won 3-0 thanks to goals from Brian Lozano, Carlos Orrantia, and Adrián Lozano.

Santos Laguna v Monterrey - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Santos will need to rally around one another after a difficult week.
Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

After one of the most difficult weeks in recent memory, Santos Laguna (3W 3D 1L) will get back to the business of soccer when they host FC Juárez (2W 2D 2L) at the fortress TSM. Santos has lost just three times at home since the start of the 2018 calendar year. However the pall surrounding the racist abuse suffered by Félix Torres drug out over the course of the past week, with a resolution only coming on Wednesday.

They’ll be missing Torres at center back, as he’ll be serving a suspension for part of the incident last week. In his place will most likely be Hugo Rodríguez partnering with Matheus Dória at center back. Santos has been very good at defending this season, allowing just three goals in their seven prior games.

Santos has also been able to counterbalance that with an ability to get a goal when needed most of the time. Their six goals have been scored by six different players so far, showing that this team is a collective unit whose sum is greater than that of its parts.

Chivas v FC Juarez - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Dario Lezcano had ten goals last season and has two through six games in the current tournament.
Photo by Oscar Meza/Jam Media/Getty Images

It’s hard to judge where Juárez is at the moment. They have a game in hand, so where they sit on the table is skewed somewhat. They’ve played some very good games, such as their 0-0 draw against Tijuana (3W 3D 1L) in Week 2 or their 2-1 win over Chivas (1W 4D 2L) in Week 4. They’ve also had some bad games, drawing Pachuca (0W 3D 4L) 1-1 in Week 1 and getting blown out 4-0 by Puebla (2W 3D 2L) in Week 6.

So which Juárez team will show up? They have some very good offensive players who should not be taken lightly by Santos. Dario Lezcano scored ten goals last season and has two in six games in 2021. Blas Armoa is a promising prospect from Paraguayan side Sportivo Luqueño, and Marco Fabián is Marco Fabián. Juárez is a team with a very creative midfield, capable of causing real problems.

The issue is that their creativity is often wasted with poor finishing. Their defense is also prone to being very leaky, as evidence by Santiago Ormeño’s hat trick two weeks ago in their loss to Puebla. To put that in perspective, they only had scored seven goals total in their first seven games including the 4-0 outburst.

This game will likely come down to which Juárez team shows up. At their absolute best, they could get a positive result even at a place like TSM. Anything shy of that however and it will almost certainly be three points for Santos. Santos are who they are. Who is Juárez?