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Match preview: Monterrey vs. Santos Laguna

While both teams’ seasons have gone in different directions, Santos and Rayados will both be looking for all three points at El Gigante de Acero.

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General view of the BBVA Stadium prior to the 12th round match between Monterrey and Mazatlan FC as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at BBVA Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico. Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, April 16th

Time: 9:10 p.m. Eastern, 8:10 p.m. Central, 6:10 p.m. Pacific, 1:10 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, N.L.)

Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: Enríque Isaac Bustos Díaz, AR2: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, 4TH: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, VAR: Jesus Rafael Lopez Valle, AVAR: Edgar Magdaleno Castrejon

Television: United States - FS2, FOX Deportes; Mexico - FOX Sports

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Sling TV (Subscription), FOX Sports app

All-time record: Monterrey holds the all time edge, winning 34 to Santos’ 28 while the teams have drawn 28 times. In Liga MX play, Monterrey holds the 29 to 25 advantage with 26 draws. In the playoffs, Monterrey won their fourth championship 5-3 on aggregate in the 2010 Apertura. Santos won their fourth championship 3-2 on aggregate in the 2012 Clausura. They also met in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Apertura with Monterrey winning that 3-0 on aggregate, again in the 2019 Apertura quarterfinal round where Rayados advanced 6-3 on aggregate en route to their fifth championship, and in the 2021 Clausura quarterfinal round where Santos advanced 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a late goal by Roni Prieto in the vuelta leg.

The clubs have also met in the Copa MX, with Santos winning twice to Monterrey’s once as well as in Concacaf Champions League twice with Monterrey winning both the 2011-12 Final 3-2 on aggregate and the 2012-13 Final on 4-2 aggregate. In their last meeting, Santos came back to pull off a 4-3 win in Torreón with Santos goals from Fernando Gorriarán, Félix Torres, Harold Preciado, and Brian Lozano while Monterrey got a brace from Rogelio Funes Mori and a goal from Rodrigo Aguirre back on July 3, 2022. The last time the clubs met in Monterrey, Rayados beat Santos 1-0 back on April 9, 2022 in Monterrey thanks to a late goal from Luis Romo. The last time they met in Torreón, Monterrey picked up a rare win at TSM with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Alfonso González and Duván Vergara while Brian Lozano got the lone goal for Santos back on September 26, 2021.

Carlos Acevedo of Santos controls the ball during the 14th round match between Santos Laguna and Pachuca as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on April 9, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico.
Carlos Acevedo and the Santos defense has only held teams scoreless just twice this season.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

With three games left to play in the season, Santos needs every point they can get to make the repechaje. They’ll head west to Monterrey to face superlíder Rayados, who could potentially wrap up their season with a win and a Toluca loss. Santos will have to improve their road performances, where they’ve only picked up six points in seven games so far this season.

Santos has struggled defensively, their 31 goals conceded just four less than Mazatlán. They’ve allowed three goals or more in five games this season, and have registered just two shutouts. For context, last season Santos allowed three goals or more just three times and got four shutouts.

The good news is that they’ve had a much easier time scoring, their 19 goals tying them with Tigres and Pumas for eighth best in the league. Harold Preciado’s six goals have him tied for fifth overall in the league, although he hasn’t scored since the 4-1 loss to León in Week 12. The goals are coming from elsewhere though, with Javier Correa contributing five and Juan Brunetta adding four more so far on the season.

Luis Cardenas, goalkeeper of Monterrey celebrates his team’s first goal during the 7th round match between Monterrey and Leon as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at BBVA Stadium on August 6, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Luis Cárdenas will most likely get the start in goal for Rayados, with Esteban Andrada out with a red card suspension.
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

This is good because no one has allowed fewer goals than Monterrey, with Rayados allowing just 11 so far this season. They’ve shut out five teams so far and haven’t allowed anyone to score more than two goals in a game. And in more good news for Santos, Monterrey will be without starting goalkeeper Esteban Andrada, who was sent off late in the match against América when he handled the ball near midfield. Luis Cárdenas will likely get his first start of the season, and he was in net in Week 1 of last season when Santos won 4-3 in Torreón.

Rayados have also scored 28 goals so far this season, tied with Pachuca for third place overall. Rogelio Funes Mori has eight so far on the season, while Arturo González and Germán Berterame each have five. When you can score that many and allow that few, you’re going to give every team problems, especially ones who have been struggling.

Santos will definitely have their work cut out for them, but this is the corner they’ve painted themselves into over the course of the season. Rayados meanwhile will seek to go about their business and wrap up the regular season early and begin focusing on the Liguilla. While the two teams’ paths are heading in very different directions, their convergence could mean a world of difference for one or both of them.