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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Club Tijuana

After an unexpected break, Santos returns after a bad loss to host a surging Xolos.

Players of Santos pose for a team photo prior the 9th round match between Santos Laguna and Necaxa as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente

Date: Saturday, January 8th

Time: 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 p.m. Central, 9:00 p.m. local, 8:00 p.m. Pacific, 3:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Ismael Rosario López Peñuelas, AR1: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, AR2: Michel Caballero Galicia, 4TH: Abraham De Jesús Quirarte Contreras, VAR: Oscar Mejía García, AVAR: Diana Stephanía Pérez Borja

Television: United States - None; Mexico - None

Streaming: ViX (Subscription possibly required)

All-time record: Santos holds the slight edge over Tijuana, winning nine games to Xolos’ seven, with eight draws in Liga MX play. The last time the clubs met, Santos got a 3-2 home win back in March thanks to a brace from Javier Correa and a game winner from Matheus Dória, while Tijuana’s goals came from Alexis Canelo and Lucas Rodríguez.

Harold Preciado of Santos celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal during the 4th round match between Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on August 20, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Despite playing one less game than most other clubs, Santos forward Harold Preciado co-leads the league with seven goals on the season.
Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

Usually a mid-week match puts a team at a disadvantage, however this may be an advantage for Santos as they host Tijuana tonight at TSM. Suffering a 5-2 defeat against former coach Eduardo Fentanes to give Necaxa their first win in 191 days, Santos’ match last weekend against Monterrey was postponed due to a concert, which gives the team extra time to work on what went so wrong as well as to rest up. A bright spot was a brace from Harold Preciado, who sits tied for the leading goalscorer with seven goals on the season.

Despite not playing last weekend, Santos enters the match in 13th place, just a point out of the repechaje and four behind fourth place Juárez. A good performance against Xolos could have them right back in the thick of things.

Miguel Herrera, coach of Tijuana looks on prior the 7th round match between Puebla and Tijuana as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Cuauhtemoc Stadium on September 01, 2023 in Puebla, Mexico.
Miguel Herrera’s team is surging, having won three of their last four games.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Xolos however are on a decent run of form. They’ve won three of their last four, with a 1-0 loss to rival León the only blemish during that period. Miguel “Piojo” Herrera’s squad also blew out Juárez 5-1 at home on Friday thanks to a brace by Carlos González and goals from Silvio Martínez, Lucas Cavallini, and Fernando Madrigal. González is tied with Preciado for the league lead in goals scored, however he will miss the match against Santos having picked up a red card in the 77th minute of the loss.

Both of these teams have seen their fortunes turn a bit lately, however a win here could shift the narrative for both teams. For Santos, it could confirm that the losses to Necaxa and Puebla were an anomaly and they’re a force to be reckoned with on their way to the playoffs. Xolos meanwhile can shed the aura of doubt that they got lucky over their recent run, proving that they’re the ones who will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.