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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro

After a historic win, Santos returns home to face Querétaro with a berth in the repechaje within striking distance.

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General view of TSM Corona Stadium corner flag during a momentary power outage in the 14th round match between Santos Laguna and Pachuca as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX on April 9, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, April 23rd

Time: 9:05 p.m. Eastern, 7:05 p.m. Central, 6:05 p.m. Pacific, 1:05 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Jorge Abraham Camacho Peregrina, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Leonardo Javier Castillo Rodríguez, 4TH: Oscar Macías Romo, VAR: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AVAR: César Arturo Cerritos García

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes ; Mexico - ViX+

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), FOX Sports app

All-time record: Santos holds the edge all time over all competitions, winning 21 to Querétaro’s 14 with the clubs drawing 13 times. They’ve only met three times outside of Liga MX play, with each team winning once and the clubs drawing once in Copa MX play. In the last meeting, the teams drew 3-3 at La Corregidora thanks to a game-tying goal by goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo back on September 10, 2022. The last time they met in Torreón, the clubs tied 1-1 back on April 16, 2022 with goals from Jordan Carrillo and an autogol from Félix Torres.

Eduardo Fentanes head coach of Santos looks on prior to the 15th round match between Monterrey and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at BBVA Stadium on April 16, 2023 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Santos head coach Eduardo Fentanes was all smiles after Santos picked up a historic win in Monterrey and edged closer to securing postseason play.
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

After picking up their first league win against Rayados in Monterrey in over two decades, Santos returns home to TSM with a crucial game against Querétaro. With just two games left in the regular season, Santos enters the week in ninth place and in strong position to clinch a spot in the repechaje. Querétaro meanwhile are on the outside looking in, desperately needing points not only to try and make the repechaje but also looking ahead at the tabla de cociente and possible relegation once that system is re-instated.

Santos will look to use their home field advantage to gain home field advantage in the repechaje, and a win against Querétaro would go a long way in securing that aim. A loss would actually see Querétaro leapfrog Santos and depending on how results pan out elsewhere in the league a loss could see them back on the outside of the repechaje looking in. Santos has historically been almost invincible at home, however this season they’ve lost three, which is as many as they lost in the regular season over the last three seasons combined. They simply can not take this game for granted.

Santos will be without Lucas González, who picked up a red card in the win against Monterrey. Look for Alan Cervantes to take his place, and it will be interesting to see what other lineup changes Eduardo Fentanes has in store. Jair González and Diego Medina have been vying for starts to comprise the front three with Harold Preciado and Javier Correa, and the defense has seen rotation with Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Matheus Dória, and Oscar Manzanarez all getting looks in varying sets of two and three center back back lines.

Gil Alcala, goalkeeper of Queretaro throws the ball during the 15th round match between Querataro and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at La Corregidora Stadium on April 16, 2023 in Queretaro, Mexico.
Gil Alcalá has been one of the few bright spots for Querétaro this season, getting three clean sheets and keeping the team in games despite a floundering offense.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Querétaro meanwhile come in hot. After going winless in their first eight games, they’ve gotten results in six of seven, winning three and drawing three; the only blemish during that stretch a 2-0 loss at San Luis. In fairness however, four of those six games were in Querétaro and the other game was a 2-1 win against a struggling Xolos team in Tijuana. The win in Tijuana is their only one on the road this season.

Querétaro has struggled to score this season, their 14 goals ranking dead last in the league. Five players each have two goals, four more have one each. For context, Santos’ Harold Preciado has half as many as Querétaro’s entire team, with Javier Correa and Juan Brunetta each with five. Querétaro’s defense has been serviceable, allowing 20 goals tying them with América for ninth place in the league. Gil Alcalá and the defense have three shutouts on the year and have allowed more than two goals twice, but the offense has scored more than two goals just twice and have been shut out six times.

Still Querétaro knows what’s at stake. They’re currently at the bottom of the tabla de cociente to determine relegation, and while that won’t take place at the end of this season they will be paying a fine and in a difficult spot for when the system is re-installed. Santos too knows the gravity of the situation. After getting a historic win at Monterrey, not getting a win against an opponent like Querétaro at home could spell the end of their repechaje hopes and institute large changes during the offseason.