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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Club Tijuana

Santos returns home to host Xolos, who have lost three of four on the road this season.

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General view of the Corona Stadium during the 8th round match between Santos Laguna and Pumas UNAM as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on March 2, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente

Date: Sunday, March 13th

Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Brian Omar Gonzalez Veles, AR1: Christian Kiabek Espinosa Zavala, AR2: Leonardo Javier Castillo Rodríguez, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe, VAR: Oscar Mejia Garcia, AVAR: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - TUDN, ESPN

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

All-time record: Xolos have the slight edge, winning seven games to Santos’ six with eight draws in Liga MX play. In their last meeting, Xolos won 2-1 in Tijuana back on September 11th with goals from Brayan Angulo and Miguel Sansores, while Matheus Dória had Santos’ lone tally. The last time the teams met in Torreón, Santos won 2-0 back on October 11, 2020 thanks got a goal from Gael Sandoval and an autogol from Vladimir Loroña.

Matheus Doria of Santos celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the 5th round match between Santos Laguna and America as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on February 12, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
Santos will be without Matheus Dória, as the captain picked up a red card after the match against Chivas.
Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos returns home after a tough road loss last week to Chivas, both in terms of the standings and the mental aspect. The loss dropped Santos to 15th despite three games being postponed due to the riots in Querétaro, although it is fair to wonder why the match wasn’t also posponed as well as the others that evening. The match however did go on, and not only did Chivas pick up the win, but Santos captain Matheus Dória was shown a red card after the match for berating referee Víctor Cáceres.

Without Dória, they’ll most likely need to rely on Hugo Rodríguez in back with Félix Torres, although they have pushed Ismael Govea in as a center back and used Franco Pizzichillo and Omar Campos as the wing backs. Beyond that however, Dória’s calming presence on the field will be as missed as his booming free kicks and defensive awareness.

Lisandro Lopez of Tijuana celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the 3rd round match between Puebla and Club Tijuana as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 at Cuauhtemoc Stadium on January 21, 2022 in Puebla, Mexico.
Lisandro López has one of Tijuana’s three road goals this season, and co-leads the team with two.
Photo by Jam Media/Getty Images

Tijuana meanwhile did not play last week, their home match against Atlético de San Luis postponed to a date and time still to be determined. Their last game was a 2-1 victory on the road against Toluca back on March 1. After a lost season in the 2021 Apertura, Xolos have turned it around and are sitting in eighth place after Week 8, the last week that every team had played an equal number of games.

Xolos’ win at Toluca was an outlier, however. They’ve lost their other three road games by a combined score of 7-1. Compounding matters is that they’ve only scored eight goals on the season, and only Lisandro López and Marcel Ruiz have more than one goal so far. López and Ruiz each have a road goal, as does Joaquin Montecinos.

While Tijuana does come in sitting higher on the table than Santos, they’ve been dreadful on the road and TSM is an unforgiving place to play. Despite the loss to Chivas, Santos looks like they have turned a corner under caretaker manager Eduardo Fentanes. But they must prove the win against Pumas wasn’t a fluke by continuing to put up impressive performances at home against teams they should beat.