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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Atlas

A homecoming of sorts for some players as Santos hosts Atlas in the final match before the Leagues Cup break.

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General view of Corona Stadium prior the 1st round match between Santos Laguna and Queretaro as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on July 2, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

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

Television: United States - FS2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - None

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), FOX Sports app, , ViX (United States), ViX+ (Mexico - Subscription)

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.

Juan Brunetta of Santos looks on during the 12th round match between Leon and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Leon Stadium on March 19, 2023 in Leon, Mexico.
Juan Brunetta had a rough stretch during the match against Puebla but persevered, scoring the game-winning goal in the 77th minute.
Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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.

Brian Lozano of Atlas gestures during the 1st round match between Atlas and Cruz Azul as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Jalisco Stadium on July 1, 2023 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Former Santos winger Brian Lozano makes his return to Torreón after joining Atlas last season.
Photo by Simon Barber/Getty Images

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.