clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Match preview: León vs. Santos Laguna

Santos is one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. León has allowed the fewest goals in the league. These two very different teams meet tonight in a big Week 12 match.

 General view inside the stadium prior the 10th round match between Leon and Atletico San Luis as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on March 04, 2023 in Leon, Mexico. Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, March 19th

Time: 11:05 p.m. Eastern, 10:05 p.m. Central, 8:05 p.m. Pacific, 3:05 a.m. UTC (All times Daylight Saving - US. Please check your local listings.)

Venue: Estadio León (León, Gto.)

Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Enríque Isaac Bustos Díaz, AR2: Enedina Caudillo Gómez, 4TH: Mario Terrazas Chávez, VAR: Brian Omar Gonzalez Veles, AVAR: Salvador Pérez Villalobos

Television: United States - None; Mexico - FOX Sports

Streaming: ViX+ (United States)

All-time record: León holds the all time, with 20 wins to Santos’ 17 and the clubs sharing 12 draws across all competitions. All of these results have come in Liga MX play except for one draw and one León win, which happened when the teams were in the Segunda División during the 1987-88 season.

The last time the clubs met Santos got a 2-1 win in Torreón on goals from Omar Campos and Félix Torres, while Fidel Ambriz scored León’s lone goal back in August 2022. The last time the teams met in Guanajuato was back on April 21, 2021 when the sides played to a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp.

Marcelo Correa (C) of Santos celebrates with teammates after scoring the team’s second goal during the 11th round match between Santos Laguna and Tijuana as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on March 12, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico.
Javier Correa (center)’s brace put him at four goals on the season, one behind team leader Harold Preciado.
Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

After picking up a much needed win at home last week against Tijuana, Santos heads on the road to face León. León got a win on the road against Atlas last week, but also had to play a Thursday match against Tauro FC in the Concacaf Champions League. León used a lot of first-choice starters in the 2-0 win, so it will remain to be seen how much is left in the tank going into what will be their fifth game in two weeks.

Santos did well in their last match to get all three points, with Matheus Dória’s first goal in over a year being the difference maker in the 73rd minute. Javier Correa also had a brace, bringing his season total up to four goals and tying him with Juan Brunetta and pulling him within one of Harold Preciado. All in all, Santos has 17 goals in 11 games. behind only Toluca, América, Rayados, and Pachuca.

Their issue has been their defense, which as allowed 23 goals on the season, which was better than only Mazatlán heading into the week. They’ve only allowed one goal or less in three of those games, with the only shutout of the season so far coming back in Week 2 against Pumas. Santos simply can’t afford to give up so many goals and expect to win, especially against a team like León.

Rodolfo Cota of Leon celebrates after the team’s third goal scored by Yairo Moreno of Leon (not in frame) during the 6th round match between Queretaro and Leon as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at La Corregidora Stadium on February 09, 2023 in Queretaro, Mexico.
Rodolfo Cota and León have allowed just one goal in their past eight games, including continental competition.
Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

León has given up just seven goals in their eleven games, fewest in the league. Rodolfo Cota and the defense have combined for six shutouts, including a streak of 416 minutes that started in Week 4 against Pachuca and continued until Week 9 against Monterrey. Since Duván Vergara’s goal in the 83rd minute for Rayados, León has gone 187 minutes without conceding, which doesn’t include the 180 minutes they shut out Tauro in continental play.

Where León is vulnerable is their ability to score. They did win the aggregate against Tauro 3-0, but in league play they’ve only scored 12 so far this season. They’ve been shut out three times so far this season but did have a 4-1 win over Pumas in Week 3 and a 3-0 win over Querétaro in Week 6. Lucas Di Yorio and Víctor Dávila each have three goals, but they and Ángel Mena are the only ones with more than one.

It’s worth noting that Xolos were a similar foe to León; prior to their match against Santos they were defending well and had difficulties scoring. It’s not impossible to imagine Santos goading León into getting into a 4-3 match, and it’s also not impossible to imagine the defense clicking and coming out in a 0-0 draw if León locks it down. The teams being imbalanced in the ways that they are should make for an exciting match.