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Match preview: Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Santos Laguna

A rejuvenated Santos heads on the road to take on a flagging Chivas.

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Aerial view of the Chivas Stadium prior the Final second leg match between Chivas and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Clausura 2017 Liga MX at Chivas Stadium on May 28, 2017 in Zapopan, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent via Getty Images

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

Date: Saturday, March 5th

Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Akron (Zapopan, Jal.)

Referees: REF: Victor Alfonso Caceres Hernandez, AR1: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, AR2: Jose De Jesus Baños Caballero, 4TH: Jorge Abraham Camacho Peregrina, VAR: Angel Monroy Bello, AVAR: Marcos Quintero Huitron

Television: United States - Telemundo, NBC UNIVERSO; Mexico - Claro Sports, Blim

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Telemundo Deportes App, Chivas TV

All-time record: Santos holds the all-time record across all competitions, with 33 wins to Chivas’ 23 while the clubs have drawn 23 times. Strictly in Liga MX play, Santos holds a 28-22 advantage while the clubs have drawn 22. Santos leads 4-1 in Copa MX play, and in the old Interliga Santos won one in 2004 and the sides drew one back in 2005. In more recent history, their last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Guadalajara on goals from Jesús Angulo and Alberto Ocejo. The last time these teams met was in a scoreless draw in Torreón back on August 15. The last time they met in Guadalajara, it ended in a 1-1 tie thanks to goals from Jesús Angulo and Beto Ocejo back on April 4, 2021.

Juan Aguayo of Pumas (L) fights with Harold Preciado of Santos 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.
Harold Preciado has scored three goals for Santos as well as providing a healthy amount of toughness for Los Guerreros.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, Santos was dead in the water. A disastrous 0-2-4 start and an early exit from the Concacaf Champions League saw Los Guerreros in last place and cost head coach Pedro Caixinha his job. Since then however, Santos has reeled off two straight wins and sit just on the outside of a spot in the repechaje. They head to Guadalajara to face Chivas, who also have eight points on the season but are three places higher on the table due to goal differential.

Santos has come alive thanks in part to Harold Preciado, who leads the team with three goals in just 349 minutes of play. Preciado has provided an offensive spark as well as some grit and toughness up front, not afraid to challenge defenders physically both during and after play on the field. Santos has also benefit from Preciado’s presence in the center of the pitch, allowing Brian Lozano to remain wide on the left which is his natural position.

Alexis Vega of Chivas kicks the ball during the 6th round match between Leon and Chivas as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on February 19, 2022 in Leon, Mexico.
Alexis Vega leads all Chivas goas corers with four on the season, tying him for third place in the league.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Chivas meanwhile come in having lost three of their last four, although the did fight back on the road against Atlético San Luis to salvage a 2-2 draw during the midweek fixtures. Chivas have gotten some good performances, especially from Alexis Vega, whose four goals have him tied for third best in the league.

While Chivas are near the top of the league in goals scored with 14, they’re also near the bottom of the league with goals conceded with 14. They’ll be in for another tough game defensively, as Santos has scored five goals in their last two games. They did however concede three over those two matches, so the opportunity is there for Chivas.

Chivas however are under immense pressure to win, and coach Michel Leaño’s job may be on the line if Chivas lose. Fairly or unfairly, Chivas fans may look at Santos’ recent struggles as evidence of them being a poor team that Chivas should have beaten easily instead of a strong team that struggled early and has since found their footing.