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Match preview: Club Atlético de San Luis vs. Santos Laguna

After a season full of ups and downs, Santos is hopeful that one more good moment could push them into the playoffs.

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Aerial view of Alfonso Lastras Stadium prior the 3rd round match between Atletico San Luis and FC Juarez as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Estadio Alfonso Lastras on January 20, 2022 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

Game: Club Atlético de San Luis vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, May 1st

Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Pacific, 9:00 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Alfonso Lastras (San Luis Potosí, S.L.P.)

Referees: REF: Ismael Rosario Lopez Peñuelas, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Michel Caballero Galicia, 4TH: Guillermo Pacheco Larios, VAR: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán, AVAR: Edgar Allan Morales Olvera

Television: United States - TUDN; Mexico - ESPN

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), TUDN En Vivo

All-time record: This will be just the ninth time San Luis and Santos have met in Liga MX play, with the last match in Torreón ending in a 2-0 win for Santos in the repechaje on goals from Ayrton Preciado and Ignacio Jeraldino. The last match in San Luis Potosí ended in a 1-0 win for San Luis in a game that was marred by allegations of a San Luis player and the technical staff hurling racist and homophobic abuse. Santos beat San Luis 2-1 at TSM in their last match in Torreón on goals from Gael Sandoval and Juilo Furch. Germán Berterame got the lone goal for Atleti in that match. Santos leads the series in Liga MX play with three wins to San Luis’ one with one draw between them. The teams have also met four times before in Copa MX play, with each team winning once and the teams drawing twice.

Carlos Acevedo, goalkeeper of Santos, looks on during the 15th round match between Mazatlan FC and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Kraken Stadium on April 19, 2022 in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Carlos Acevedo has been stellar for Santos this season, one of the few constants in a tumultuous campaign.
Photo by Efrain Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

After a disastrous start to the season, it was always going to be tough to make the repechaje for Santos Laguna. Going into the final week of the season the possibility still exists, although even if they get all the help they need they’ll still need to win at San Luis in order to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season (minus the COVID shortened 2020 Clausura).

Rebounding after the dismissal of Pedro Caixinha, Santos climbed as high as tenth place in Week 12 but stagnated, slipping to fifteenth place and two points out of the repechaje thanks in part to a road loss to Mazatlán in Week 15 and a 1-1 draw at home against León in Week 16. At times they’ve been unbeatable, with the offense powered by Harold Preciado, Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, and Brian “Huevo” Lozano seemingly scoring at will in front of a defense lead by Matheus Dória and goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo that looked impenetrable. Other times however they’ve been asteful in possession and out of sync and lost out of possession. If the better version of Santos shows up they should have no problem getting the three points on the evening, but that’s been far from a certainty all season long.

Juan Sanabria of San Luis celebrates after winning the 16th round match between Cruz Azul and Atletico San Luis as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on April 24, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico.
San Luis hasn’t lost a game at home since February 12.
Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

San Luis meanwhile comes in guaranteed a repechaje spot and it just being a matter of where on the table they finish. If everything lines up just right they could finish in the top four and avoid the repechaje, but that’s highly unlikely and most likely they’ll just be trying to grab home field advantage in the repechaje.

As he was last season, Germán Berterame is San Luis’ main threat to score with six goals so far this season. Berterame finished co-leader last season with nine goals however after a run of scoring in three straight games he was held scoreless in San Luis’ 1-0 win at Cruz Azul last week. And while San Luis has lost three games at home this season, they haven’t lost there since Week 5, the only blemish since then being a 2-2 draw against Chivas in Week 8.

This will not be an easy game for Santos, even if their window of opportunity to make the repechaje is closed before the first whistle sounds. Still regardless of the outcome the team has fought through adversity all season and proven a lot of people wrong. It’d be only fitting if they were able to do it one more time.