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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. León

Three critical points could decide who plays in May and who stays home.

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Carlos Acevedo of Santos reacts during the 15th round match between Mazatlan FC and Santos Laguna as part of te Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Kraken Stadium on April 19, 2022 in Mazatlan, Mexico. Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, April 24th

Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Jonathan Maximiliano Gómez, 4TH: Louis Adrian Vielmas Valdez, VAR: Angel Monroy Bello, AVAR: Michel Ricardo Espinoza Avalos

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

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

All-time record: León holds the all time, with 20 wins to Santos’ 16 and the clubs sharing 11 draws across all competitions. All of these results have come in Liga MX play except for one draw and one León win, which happened during the 1987-88 season of the Segunda División.

The last time the clubs met they ended in a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp back on August 21, 2021 on goals from Fernando Gorriarán and Ángel Mena. In their last meeting in Torreón, León handed Santos a rare loss at home, winning 2-1 thanks to goal from Ángel Mena and Fernando Navarro, with Fernando Gorriarán scoring Santos’ lone goal from the penalty spot.

Victor Davila of Leon reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the 14th round match between Leon and Puebla as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on April 16, 2022 in Leon, Mexico.
Víctor Dávila leads León with four goals, but León hasn’t scored in 292 consecutive minutes of play.
Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

Last week’s loss at Mazatlán left Santos’ playoff hopes dented but in tact. In 14th place with 16 points, they need to get into 12th place in order to play into May. They’ll get a prime opportunity to do just that when they host 12th place León at TSM on Sunday evening.

Santos played a decent enough game against Mazatlán but ran up against a flawless performance from goalkeeper Nicolás Vikonis. They’ll be going up against a quality goalkeeper in Rodolfo Cota, who has three shutouts over his fourteen games this season. León however has lost their last three games straight and haven’t won since a March 20 win at Mazatlán.

A big part of the problem is León’s inability to score. They’ve got just twelve goals in fourteen games, with Víctor Dávila’s four leading the team. They’ve been shutout in five games including their last three, not having scored since Ángel Mena’s 68th minute goal against Querétaro on April 3.

Harold Preciado of Santos controls the ball during the 12th round match between Santos Laguna and Pachuca as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on April 3, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
Harold Preciado leads Santos with six goals but hasn’t scored since April 3.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos meanwhile has all but overcome the slow start brought about by the Pedro Caixinha era at the start of the season. they are undefeated at home and have benefit by the emergence of Harold Preciado. Preciado has contributed six goals on the season however he hasn’t scored since the 50th minute in the April 3 win over Pachuca.

Both of these teams realize the gravity of this game and will be pulling out all of the stops to secure three points. For León, three points will make it very difficult to dislodge them for a slot in the postseason. For Santos, three points means they’re still in the hunt to pull off one of the more improbable comebacks over a season.