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
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.
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.
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.