Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Atlas Fútbol Club
Date: Thursday, July 13th
Time: 9:05 p.m. Eastern, 8:05 p.m. Central, 7:05 p.m. local, 6:05 p.m. Pacific, 1:05 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Diego Montaño Robles, AR1: Leonardo Javier Castillo Rodríguez, AR2: Jesús Lorenzo Soto Dávila, 4TH: Maximiliano Quintero Hernández, VAR: Francia María González Martínez, AVAR: Jorge Abraham Camacho Peregrina
All-time record: Santos holds the all-time record across all competitions, winning 34 to Atlas’ 17 while the clubs have drawn 29 times. The clubs drew both their meetings in the 2003-04 Interliga and in the 2009-10 SuperLiga, with all other results being in Liga MX play. The last time they played in Guadalajara, the clubs drew 2-2 back on February 26th, with Ozziel Herrera and Julián Quiñones scoring for Atlas while Javier Correa and Juan Brunetta tallying for Santos. The last time the clubs met in Torreón, Santos picked up a 1-0 win in Torreón in July thanks to a Juan Brunetta goal in the 59th minute.
Santos was able to put a sluggish start behind them to beat Puebla last week. Now they’ll return home to host Atlas in hopes of starting their first winning streak of the season. In the Puebla match, goalkeeper Gibran Lajud’s early error allowed Puebla to take the lead and Juan Brunetta had several chances to score but missed. Brunetta however finally got one to go to put Santos on top, and Lajud came up big late to deny Puebla from equalizing.
Santos will need to build on that momentum, especially considering the tough 2-0 loss against Querétaro in the season opener in Torreón that saw Los Gallos Blancos score two goals late. That was just the fourth time Santos lost a home opener at home since the opening of Estadio Corona in 2009. Of those four, the only time they lost back-to-back games at home to start the regular season was in the 2015 Apertura, when in league play they lost five straight games at home and wound up winless at home that season.
Atlas meanwhile won their home opener, downing Cruz Azul 2-0 on goals from former Santos forward Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre and Aldo Rocha. They would however lose another former Santos player for the next game when Brian Lozano picked up two yellow cards, forcing him to miss the team’s 1-0 loss against Monterrey last week.
Lozano will be back in the lineup, which will all but ensure his first start against his former team in Torreón. In the last meeting in Guadalajara, Lozano played 68 minutes in the 2-2 draw. Along with Mudo Aguirre and “Huevo” Lozano, Santos fans will welcome back former players Julio Furch, José Abella, and Martín Nervo, all of whom played with Los Guerreros in seasons’ past.
There will be precious little time for nostalgia however, with both teams knowing that every point counts in a 17 game season. Both teams were bounced out of the Liguilla last season in the quarterfinals, and should feel like they can pick up points against an opponent that is similarly trying to find their footing.