Santos Laguna have lost three of the last four finals in the Mexican Primera, but they're in position to finally break their losing streak in Liguilla. They grabbed a 1-1 draw away to Monterrey on Thursday, giving them the advantage heading home to Torreon.
They should have had a lead, but gave away the game late. In second half stoppage time, while leading 1-0, Santos central defender Felipe Baloy took down Humberto Suazo in the box and the referee granted the obvious penalty. Suazo stepped up and converted, altering the tie significantly heading into the second leg.
Santos were without Juan Pablo Rodriguez in the first leg, and he's a doubt for the second leg. He's been one of their best players in recent years, but Rodolfo Salinas and Marc Crosas put in a good performance in the first leg. Monterrey had most of the possession in the first leg, but Luis Ernesto Perez and Jesus Zavala couldn't create chances with the frequency that they usually do.
They also missed the attacking prowess of Neri Cardozo and Angel Reyna outside. Victor Manuel Vucetich opted for the more defensive Walter Ayovi out wide, and while he did an excellent job defensively, he wasn't as effective going forward as either of Monterrey's either wide options are normally. With Monterrey needing win on Sunday, Vucetich could opt to either start Ayovi on the bench or play him as a fullback.
Santos are unlikely to make any lineup changes unless Rodriguez is completely fit. They've opted for the same lineup throughout the season when everyone is healthy, and there's no reason for them to change it. They'll create chances at home and their midfield will cause problems for Monterrey, so the second leg could come down to the decisions that Vucetich makes with his team.
For more on the Mexican Primera, head over to FMF State of Mind.