Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Thursday, August 25th
Time: 10:05 p.m. Eastern, 9:05 p.m. Central, 7:05 p.m. Pacific, 2:05 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, AR2: César Arturo Cerritos García, 4TH: Jesus Rafael Lopez Valle, VAR: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AVAR: Michel Ricardo Espinoza Avalos
All-time record: The series between Xolos and Santos is knotted with both teams winning seven games with eight draws in Liga MX play. The last time the clubs met, Santos beat Tijuana 4-0 in Torreón thanks to a brace from Harold Preciado and goals from Fernando Gorriarán and Leo Suárez. In their last meeting in Tijuana, 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.
Santos looks to make it two in a row on the road as they head to La Frontera to face Xolos. After not getting a point on the road all season long, Santos demolished Pumas 5-1 on Sunday in a game that wasn’t as close as the scoreline indicated. The win moved Santos up to fifth place on the table, tied with fourth place América on points but behind on goal differential and with one game in hand on most other teams in the league and two against some others.
Santos is still scoring by committee, with Juan Brunetta, Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, Hugo Rodríguez, Félix Torres, and Fernando Gorriarán all tied for the team lead with two goals and five more players each with a goal. While Matheus Dória is still out with an ankle injury, Santos will also be without head coach Eduardo Fentanes, who picked up a red card against Pumas. Hugo Colace will most likely be the one along the touchline in Fentanes’ absence.
Tijuana meanwhile comes into the match in eighth place in the standings having played one more game than Santos. Xolos have been all over the place in terms of form, winning three in a row before getting just four points in their last four games. They’ve beaten tough teams like América at home but they were beaten by Juárez 2-0 in their home opener earlier this season and also lost 2-0 last week on the road at last place Querétaro.
Tijuana’s offense has scored 13 goals so far this season while allowing 14, and while it’s difficult to gauge where a team is in a season with an unbalanced schedule, a negative goal differential is never good. Lucas Rodríguez leads Xolos with three goals on the season, however his last goal was three games ago against Puebla. No one else on the team has more than one.
Still, Xolos should be a much stiffer challenge on the road for Santos than Pumas. The distance, the artificial turf, the late hour of the match all provide Tijuana with an undeniable edge at home. The question is can they use that to their advantage, or has Santos turned a corner and become as much of a threat on the road as they are at home?