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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Puebla F.C.

A win and Santos is through to the Liguilla. In their way is Puebla, who have defied expectations this season.

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Santos Laguna v Toluca - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, May 2nd

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: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AR1: Jose De Jesus Baños Caballero, AR2: Enedina Caudillo Gómez, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe, VAR: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AVAR: Fabrice Paul Plancon-Jallet

Television: United States - 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 (Subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Santos holds the all time record across all competitions, winning 27 to Puebla’s 15 with 22 draws. The only time the clubs have met outside of Liga MX play was a wild win by Santos in the 2014 Apertura Copa MX Final in penalties. The last time the clubs met, Santos got a 2-0 win at Estadio Cuauhtémoc back on October 2 thanks to goals from Julio Furch and David Andrade. The last time they met in Torreón, Santos got a 4-1 win with Julio Furch getting a brace and Ulíses Rívas and Diego Valdés contributing goals for the home side. Matías “El Chavo” Alustiza got the lone goal for Puebla.

Santos Laguna v Leon - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Fernando Gorriarán is a critical part of Santos’ playoff ambitions, returning from injury just in time to lead the team into the postseason.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos Laguna needs a win to bypass the repechaje and make it straight into the Liguilla. In order to do that, they’ll need to beat Puebla F.C., who have been one of the better teams in the league this season. The good news for Santos is that they’ll be at their fortress TSM, where they’ve lost just once this season, and they’ll have both Fernando Gorriarán and Diego Valdés back. Both made appearances off of the bench in their last outing against Pachuca, and having both available for selection will be huge for Santos not only in terms of what they bring on the pitch but their leadership as well.

Santos will need to figure out how to get consistent production from their offense. While their last match at home was great from an offensive standpoint, it looked anemic on the road against Pachuca and will simply need to put forth a better showing this time around. Having Valdés and his distribution and free kick abilities and Gorriarán and his vision and ability to seemingly be running at top speed for 90 minutes will go far in those efforts.

Atletico San Luis v Puebla - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Nicolás Larcamón just might be one of the best coaches in the league, leading Puebla to the postseason for the first time since the 2020 Apertura.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Puebla will have their hands full for sure, but they’ve embraced the underdog role all season long. New manager Nicolás Larcamón isn’t a name many were familiar with before the season, and while he probably isn’t in the running for the vacancy at Tigres he’s taken Puebla and turned them into a team that trails only Tigres an América in the standings heading into the final week of the season. Santiago Ormeño doesn’t have the name recognition of André-Pierre Gignac or Rogelio Funes Mori, but Ormeño was the subject of a low-key struggle between México and Perú for him to join the national team, with Perú calling him to their 50-player roster for the upcoming Copa América.

In a weekend full of good matches, this one might be the best. Both teams need to get a good result, and both teams have something to prove. It will go a long way to determining how the playoffs shape up