Both clubs doubled up on games the past two weeks, featuring in the Concacaf Champions League semifinals. While Monterrey kept it going, Santos extended its funk.
Monterrey and Santos were extra busy the past two weeks with league games on the weekend and Concacaf Champions League matches midweek. The Rayados had great fun in the CCL, scoring 5 in each semifinal match against Sporting Kansas City to reach the final. Santos Laguna were not so fortunate, knocked out by the Tigres on a 5-3 aggregate and watching their coach get fired after losing the first leg at Tigres 3-0 on April 3.
In contrast, neither team has had acceptable form in Liga MX play: Monterrey was crushed last weekend at Toluca, losing 5-1, while Santos settled for a scoreless draw at home against Pachuca. Those results continued a trend as Monterrey is 0-2-2 in its last 4 league matches and Santos is 0-2-3 in its last 5 (outscored 3-8 in that span), with the Guerreros falling out of playoff position.
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Both clubs will be looking at this game as an opportunity to change their fortunes in the league, but Monterrey – still in 3rd place – will be riding high on their CCL success while Santos is likely deflated.
Last league game
Toluca 5, Monterrey 1
In a humiliating road loss, Monterrey looked poor in this game with an unusual lack of attacking ideas up front. Their defensive frailties have been widely documented this Clausura, often giving up late leads and dropping points. That was not the case in Toluca as the Red Devils were up 3-0 before Monterrey netted their goal. On the other hand, no one can argue that the Rayados don’t have a formidable attack that rarely fails to keep them in games. Last Sunday was an exception.
Santos 0, Pachuca 0
On the face of it, this is a disappointing home result for Santos as they needed a win after losing their previous two league games. However, when you consider their opponents’ capabilities and the fact Santos went down to 10 men after 40 minutes, you can argue that a draw was a decent result.
Monterrey: Midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro has been in exceptional form since his recent stint with the Mexican national team back last month. Having scored a handful of goals in the last few weeks, Monterrey fans will likely be looking to him to help their side regain their attacking flair after the dismal performance against Toluca.
Santos Laguna: Striker Julio Furch will be salivating given how poor Monterrey has been defensively this season and the whole Santos attack will likely be told to put as much pressure on the back line as possible.
Personally I think this is going to be a goal fest as both teams will be hungry and have good attacking players, while also exhibiting poor form on defense. A perfect storm for goal-scorers. Monterrey must start playing Liga MX games the way they play their CCL games, with brutal efficiency. Their league games are too often ruined by hesitancy and carelessness.
Santos Laguna will be sorely hurt after getting knocked out of the CCL and will be firmly looking at this game as the perfect way to bounce back. Admittedly the job is a tough one as Monterrey’s squad is mind-blowingly stacked. But given Monterrey’s indecisive defending in the league of late, its quite possible Santos could score some goals. It should be a very entertaining game for the neutrals what ever the result will be.