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Match preview: Toluca vs. Santos Laguna

After a disappointing draw against Tigres, Santos heads to Edomex on short rest to take on Toluca.

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Aerial view of Nemesio Diez Stadium prior the 8th round match between Toluca and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Nemesio Diez Stadium on September 2, 2018 in Toluca, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, January 16th

Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex.)

Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Mauricio Nieto Torres, AR2: Jéssica Fernanda Morales Morales, 4TH: Edgar Allan Morales Olvera, VAR: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AVAR: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures

Television: United States - TUDN, Univision; Mexico - TUDN; Canada - OneSoccer

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), TUDN En Vivo, OneSoccer (Subscription)

All-time record: Toluca holds the all time record across all competitions, winning 32 games to Santos’ 29, with 24 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, the clubs drew 2-2 in Torreón with a last minute goal from Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre salvaging a tie for Santos. The last time they played in Toluca, Santos won 2-1 thanks to goals from Gael Sandoval and Octavio Rivero, while Toluca’s Michael Estrada grabbed the late one for the hosts. 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.

Brian Lozano of Santos reacts during the 1st round match between Santos Laguna and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on January 8, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
Brian Lozano looked like he had recaptured some of his 2019 form against Tigres.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

After a tough draw at home, Santos takes to the road on a short week to face Toluca. Leading into stoppage time, a fluke goal from Carlos Salcedo rescued a point for Tigres and stole two from Santos on Wednesday night. The match had been postponed from last weekend, so Santos won’t have much time to dwell on the result.

Santos got stellar performances from their defense, keeping Tigres off of the board for 92 minutes. They also saw Brian Lozano looking like the Brian Lozano of 2019. The front three of Ignacio Jeraldino, Ayrton Preciado, and Juan Ferney Otero looked a little out of sync, but the match was Jeraldino’s first as a starter and between that and the preseason rust, some level of miscues were perhaps inevitable.

Alan Mozo (L) of Pumas fights for the ball with Alexis Canelo (R) of Toluca during the repechage match between Toluca and Pumas UNAM as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Nemesio Diez Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Toluca, Mexico.
Santos will need to keep a close eye on Alexis Canelo. Despite his drop in form last season, he’s just one season removed from scoring 11 goals in 17 games.
Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Toluca meanwhile comes in off of a 5-0 beating suffered at the hands of Pumas in CU on Monday night. Toluca kept it close in the first half but allowed four goals in the final half an hour of play in a dismal display. They’ll need to be much better against Santos in order to stand a chance of a result.

Toluca lost some key players from last season, most notably Rubens Sambueza and former Santos midfielder José Juan “Gallito” Vázquez. They did pick up Jorge Torres Nilo and retained the services of Alexis Canelo and Camilo Sanvezzo, but have yet to put it all together.

Both teams should feel like they can turn in a better performance than they did last week, and Toluca may have an advantage playing at altitude and at noon. Santos however will have a lot of confidence, having come close to defeating a team many think will play for silverware in June. Both teams will learn a lot about themselves with this game, and it should be entertaining even for fans of neither team.