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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Atlas

Santos hosts defending champions Atlas as both teams look to turnaround from a tough start to the season.

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General view of Corona Stadium prior to the 16th round match between Santos Laguna and Leon as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on April 24, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, July 31st

Time: 8:05 p.m. Eastern, 7:05 p.m. Central, 5:05 p.m. Pacific, 12:05 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Miguel Ángel Hernández Paredes, AR2: Erick Duron Martinez, 4TH: Abraham De Jesús Quirarte Contreras, VAR: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AVAR: Mayte Ivonne Chávez García

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

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

All-time record: Santos holds the all-time record across all competitions, winning 33 to Atlas’ 17 while the clubs have drawn 28 times. The clubs drew both their meeting in the 2003-04 Interliga and in the 2009-10 SuperLiga, with all other results being in Liga MX play. The last time the clubs met, Atlas won 2-1 in Torreón on a goal from Jairo Torres and an autogol from Alan Cervantes, with the lone Santos tally coming from Harold Preciado.

Fernando Gorriaran (C) and Matheus Doria (R) of Santos react during the 16th round match between Santos Laguna and Leon as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on April 24, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
Santos captain and center back Matheus Dória (R) may miss the match with a knee injury.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

While the rest of the league had a doble jornada to contend with, Santos was able to keep their normal routine and prepare for a visit from Atlas. Atlas may be reigning back-to-back Liga MX champions, but they’ve struggled so far this season, losing three of their last four games including a 2-1 home loss to Xolos on Monday.

Santos has played well at home this season, nabbing all four of their points at their fortress TSM. They’ll need to keep that momentum going against Atlas, who are still dangerous and haven’t lost to Santos since 2020.

Santos however has been inconsistent with goalscoring, with six players each scoring a goal this season. Brian Lozano was one of the six, but he has since gone on loan to Peñarol while Jordan Carrillo was announced to be moving on loan to Sporting Gijón in the Segunda División de España. While Santos would probably like to see more consistent production from Harold Preciado and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, it is encouraging to see everyone pitching in to carry the goalscoring load.

Santos also must contend with the possibility of playing without captain Matheus Dória, who missed training this week with an injury to his right knee. Should Dória not be able to go, Eduardo Fentanes will most likely revert to four in the back, with Hugo Rodríguez and Félix Torres as the center backs flanked by Franco Pizzichillo and Omar Campos.

Julio Cesar Furch of Atlas celebrates after scoring the first goal of his team during the final second leg match between Pachuca and Atlas as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on May 29, 2022 in Pachuca, Mexico.
Julio Furch has yet to score this season after netting five goals last season.
Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Atlas comes to Torreón on the heels of a tough 2-1 loss to Tijuana at home, where they were pushed around by a very physical Xolos team. While Santos most likely won’t be as physical, they have also had a longer rest period and are playing at home, which will put Atlas at a disadvantage.

Like Santos, Atlas has six goals from six different players, one of which is Alberto “Beto” Ocejo, who along with Julio Furch, José Abella, and Hugo Nervo all previously played with Santos. Furch has not scored yet this season, but much like his former team, they’ll take them where they can get them.

Both Santos and Atlas need all three points, although with Atlas having played one more game and having a -3 goal differential, they may feel added pressure to get a second-straight win in Torreón. And while Santos’ record at home is formidable, Atlas are the defending champions for a reason.