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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. FC Juárez

Santos returns home with a chance to all but cinch up skipping the repechaje. They’ll host Juárez, who need points to remain in the repechaje hunt.

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Carlos Acevedo of Santos Laguna celebrates after his team’s third goal during the 5th round match between America and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on September 14, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, September 18th

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: Oscar Macías Romo, AR1: Enedina Caudillo Gómez, AR2: Jonathan Maximiliano Gómez, 4TH: Brian Omar Gonzalez Veles, VAR: Guillermo Pacheco Larios, AVAR: Alberto Morín Méndez

Television: United States - ESPN Deportes; Mexico - ViX+

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Sling TV (Subscription), ESPN+, Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Santos has never lost to FC Juárez, winning six and drawing four across all competitions. The last time the clubs met, they played to a 0-0 draw in the Borderland back on February 19, 2022. The last time they met in Torreón, Santos got a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Félix Torres and Alessio Da Cruz.

Ronaldo Prieto of Santos contols the ball during the 13th round match between Santos Laguna and Necaxa as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on September 6, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
Roni Prieto, himself a back-up center back, will play with a new partner since Matheus Dória and Félix Torres are out with injuries and Hugo Rodríguez is suspended.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

After a controversial mid-week draw against América, Santos Laguna returns home to host regional rivals FC Juárez. Santos was leading against the superlíders heading into the 85th minute, but an unfortunate own goal and a goal deep into a generous stoppage time resulted in a disappointing draw.

The good news is that Santos dominated América for a large swath of the game, proving they can hang with anyone in the league. Leo Suárez notched two against his former team, giving him six goals on the season, putting him in a six-way tie for sixth place in the league’s goal-scoring race. Offensively, Santos is one goal behind América with 33 goals scored on the season, and defensively they’ve given up 21 in 15 games, good enough for tenth overall in the league.

The bad news is that their defense has been decimated with injuries. Matheus Dória has been out since suffering an injury to his right leg in Week 4 against Toluca, and Félix Torres has also been out since Week 11 when he suffered an injury to his right hamstring in a match against San Luis. Hugo Rodríguez and Roni Prieto have filled in for the duo, but Rodríguez will be unavailable for the match, having picked up five yellow cards. Look for Rivaldo Lozano to be a possible starter against Juárez.

Gabriel Fernandez of Juarez drives the ball with during the 8th round match between FC Juarez and Pachuca as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Olimpico Benito Juarez on August 14, 2022 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Gabriel Fernández has five of Juárez’ 14 goals on the season so far.
Photo by Alvaro Avila/Jam Media/Getty Images

Juárez have no such selection issues, and they’re coming in fighting for one of the final spots in the repechaje. They picked up a mid-week win against Pachuca 2-1, and are looking to pick up as many points as they can to make sure they’re not still on the outside looking in at the end of the season.

Juárez has presented themselves as defensively sound this season, allowing just 15 goals in 15 games, good enough to put them at sixth place overall. They’ve shut out three teams and allowed more than one goal just three times on the season so far. They’ll be a difficult team for even Santos’ high-flying offense to break through against.

Their downfall however has been their offense, which ranks them tied for deal last in goals with just 14. Of those 14, Gabriel Fernández has five, Alan Medina has three, and no one else has more than one. To put it another way, the team has scored four more goals than Pachuca’s Nicolás Ibáñez on the year.

Santos however will have the home field advantage and should be fired up to avenge the result against América. A win will also give them the inside track being able to get a result in the final week of the season and skip the repechaje, going straight into the Liguilla.