It’s no secret that Santos Laguna was ravaged by injuries this season and had to rely more on younger players than some might have been comfortable with. It largely worked out in their favor. A big reason that Santos was able to finish fifth and grab the top spot in the repechaje is the performances that they’ve gotten from younger players. In their last league match against Puebla, the average age of the starting eleven was just shy of 24 years old. 18 year olds Santiago Muñoz and Omar Campos, both of whom started against La Franja, combined for almost 1800 minutes this season.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Santos fans and players alike.
“Despite being a young team, I think we had a great tournament,” said Fernando Gorriarán in an interview with SB Nation via Zoom on Wednesday afternoon. “We depend on ourselves to get as far as we can.”
At 26, Gorriarán is one of the veterans at the club who have been pleased with how the young players have stepped up this season, considering all of the injuries the club has had to deal with. Gorriarán himself missed three games with a sports hernia, while Diego Valdés missed three months with a fracture in his right foot and Brian Lozano has been out for over a year recovering from a broken leg. It hasn’t been easy, but the
“El Profe (Almada) has always been a coach to give opportunities to young players,” Gorriarán said, referring to manager Guillermo Almada. Almada’s faith in allowing the young players to step up and prove themselves. Almada’s faith has been rewarded, as players like Muñoz and Alan Cervantes are being called up to Mexico’s U23 team for the Olympic Qualifiers on their performances.
“Hopefully we can also give him a good tournament, a good closing of the tournament,” Gorriarán continued, “because I think he has entrusted a lot to us.”
Gorriarán also hopes that trust will be extended from the fans to the players on the club ahead of the playoffs.
“Trust in us, that we are going to give the best from each one, to be able to represent them and also us. We are in a great institution. I’ve always said I am very happy here and the truth is that the people have treated me wonderfully. Hopefully before (my time is done) I can give the gift of a title to the club.”