Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Sunday, March 12th
Time: 9:05 p.m. Eastern US, 8:05 p.m. Central US, 7:05 p.m. local, 6:05 p.m. Pacific US, 2:05 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Ismael Rosario Lopez Peñuelas, AR1: Jéssica Fernanda Morales Morales, AR2: Enrique Martìnez Sandoval, 4TH: Maximiliano Quintero Hernández, VAR: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AVAR: Edgar Magdaleno Castrejon
All-time record: Santos holds the slight edge over Tijuana, winning eight games to Xolos’ seven, with eight draws in Liga MX play. The last time the clubs met, Santos got a 2-0 win in Tijuana thanks to goals from Juan Brunetta and Javier Correa. In their last meeting in Torreón, Santos beat Tijuana 4-0 in Torreón thanks to a brace from Harold Preciado and goals from Fernando Gorriarán and Leo Suárez on March 13, 2022.
After a tough loss in Guadalajara against Chivas, Santos returns home to host a Xolos team that seems to be turning things around under recently re-hired head coach Miguel “Piojo” Herrera. Both teams have struggled at times and have also looked fearsome, and tonight’s result may depend on which version of each team shows up.
Santos have a decent amount of scoring threats, and their 14 goals on the season have them tied with Chivas for eighth place. Harold Preciado leads the team with five, tying him with four other players for fifth in the league, and Juan Brunetta has four on the season. All told five players have scored for Santos, and those don’t include Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, who has been sidelined for much of the season with injury, or Santiago Muñoz, who returned from a loan spell with Newcastle United in England.
While Santos’ offense has flourished, their defense has struggled. They’ve allowed 21 goals so far this season, with only Puebla and Mazatlán allowing more. They’ve also lost twice at home this season, however for context the last time they lost three in a season was the 2017 Apertura. They also suffered a 5-0 loss against Toluca at home, the worst home loss in club history.
Xolos meanwhile have had the opposite problem. Their defense has been good, allowing just eleven goals in ten games, good enough for sixth best in the league. Goalkeeper Antonio “Toño” Rodríguez and the defense have three shutouts to their credit this season, however all three have come at Estadio Caliente.
Their struggles are with the offense. They’ve scored just nine goals on the season, better than only San Luis and Querétaro. Lisandro López and Alexis Canelo each have two goals to lead the team, while offseason addition Lucas Cavallini has scored only one so far. Xolos has just one multigoal game this season, their 2-0 win against Pachuca in Piojo Herrera’s third game back with the team.
Both teams have a lot of promise, and both teams have an opportunity to live up to that promise and put some of the struggles of this season behind them. Santos could shut out a team that is averaging less than a goal a game, or Xolos’ dormant forwards could erupt in a goalscoring frenzy. Either way with just six games remaining after this one, this game has the potential to push a team into the playoffs or keep them out.