That wasn't how the first leg was supposed to go.
Santos Laguna thrashed Club America on Thursday, winning the home leg 4-1 and entering Sunday's decider with plenty of ambition to get to the final.
A 3-0 - or even a 4-1 - would send America through, though thanks to the Las Aguilas' away goal and they've scored that many goals twice during the season.
The series isn't over and Sunday's nightcap should be good entertainment with Santos looking to kill off America and the home side desperately pushing for goals to avoid missing the final for the third consecutive tournament.
|Game||America vs. Santos Laguna|
|Date||Sunday, May 13|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Jimenez, Leon, Marchesin, Pineda|
|Defenders||Aguilar, Aguilera, Alvarez, Cedillo, Orrantia, Valdez, Vargas|
|Midfielders||Arce, Corona, Cordova, Cruz, Da Silva, Ibarra, Rodríguez, Uribe, Zamora|
|Forwards||Diaz, Dominguez, Ibarguen, Lainez, Marin, Martin, Menez, Peralta|
America dearly missed Emanuel Aguilera in the first leg, but the center back's ankle likely will keep him out of Sunday's contest as well. With Oribe Peralta's scoreless stretch reaching 900 minutes, it may be time for Herrra to consider a swap for Henry Martin up top.
Potential starting XI: Marchesin; Aguilar, Alvarez, Valdez, Vargas; Uribe, Rodriguez; Ibarra, Menez, Dominguez; Peralta
|Position||Santos Laguna players|
|Goalkeepers||Orozco, Acevedo, Garcia|
|Defenders||Izquierdoz, Araujo, Alcoba, Villafana, Arteaga, Abella, Sanchez, Ibanez, Bernal|
|Midfielders||Vazquez, Rivas, Andrade, Martinez, de Buen, Cortes, Rabello, Davila, Lozano, Martinez, Isijara|
|Forwards||Furch, Rodriguez, Djaniny|
Jonathan Rodriguez returns from suspension, while Djaniny may be fit to go the full 90. It seems unlikely, however, that Siboldi will favor a 4-3-3 after Thursday's big victory.
Potential starting XI: Orozco; Abella, Izquierdoz, Alcoba, Angulo; Cortes, Martinez, Vazquez, Lozano; Djaniny, Furch
Betting & Match Odds
After America spent the entire season with concerns about its attack, it was the defense that let it down on Thursday night in a 4-1 first-leg defeat to Santos Laguna.
Edson Alvarez couldn't cope with Santos forward Julio Furch or the league's leading goalscorer Djaniny, and goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin had a poor night against his former club, letting in at least two goals you'd expect a goalkeeper of his level to stop.
Manager Miguel Herrera may not have many options though, with normal center-back starter Emmanuel Aguilera's ankle still limiting him. It could be up to the same XI Herrera put out Thursday to pull out a big result to get into the final.
He may be tempted to make tweaks up front, where center forward Oribe Peralta hasn't scored in 900 minutes. Jeremy Menez, who was superb in the quarter-finals, had a penalty kick saved in the first leg and Mateus Uribe was kept in check by Jose Juan "Gallito" Vazquez.
Despite the result, America didn't have a horrendous night as much as Santos had a very good one. Furch was in the right place at the right time to score his second goal of the night, and substitute Edwin Cetre introduced himself in a stunning manner, punishing America for trying to cut the deficit with a golazo from outside the box. It was the 20-year-old Colombian's debut goal, and one that may have put the series out of reach for America.
Herrera's men will push with everything, though. They've twice scored three or more goals at home this season, and with Santos still missing Nestor Araujo because of injury it may be possible to focus on Gerardo Alcoba as a weak point, overloading the left side of Los Guerreros' back line.
Santos is in superb position to get through, but there are still 90 minutes to be played in the series. If the first leg taught us anything, it's that this series will have plenty of unexpected twists.