Santos Laguna is in the home stretch and goes into the final match of the regular season at the Estadio Corona knowing it'll be back for the playoffs.
Pumas, which sat in first place in the league in the early stages, is desperate for a victory to get back in the playoff places with just two games left in the season.
Though Santos manager Robert Siboldi hinted last week he'd rest some of his starters ahead of the Liguilla, he still put out a full-strength lineup.
Even so, his team fell to Pachuca while Pumas came away with a 4-2 win over Puebla thanks to a Nicolas Castillo hat trick.
|Game||Santos Laguna vs. Pumas|
|Date||Sunday, April 22|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
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Squads & Team News
|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|
Center back Nestor Araujo continues rehabilitation from his knee injury suffered with the Mexico national team. Julio Furch didn't start last match but did enter after taking a knock two weeks prior.
Potential starting XI: Orozco; Abella, Izquierdoz, Alcoba, Villafana; Isijara, Vazquez, Rivas, Lozano; Djaniny, Rodriguez
|Goalkeepers||Saldivar, Magana, Castillo|
|Defenders||Van Rankin, Arribas, Quintana, Mendoza, Fuentes, Garcia, Jaquez, Gonzalez|
|Midfielders||Escamilla, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Jurado, Zamudio, Gallardo, Diaz, Calderon, Formica|
|Forwards||Barrera, Guerron, Alustiza, Figueroa, Asprilla, Acosta, Castillo, Torres|
Mauro Formica is suspended after being sent off against Puebla. Luis Quintana and Kevin Escamilla both left Sunday's match injured and are questionable.
Potential starting XI: Saldivar; Van Rankin, Arribas, Quintana, Fuentes; Barrera, Cabrera, Diaz, Gallardo; Alustiza; Castillo
Betting & Match Odds
The bookmakers have Santos Laguna as the heavy favorite. Dabblebet puts a Santos victory at 3/4 while a draw is at 13/5 and a Pumas road win goes for 16/5.
Santos Laguna has rolled along this season and currently sits second place in the league with two weeks to go. Despite manager Robert Siboldi's suggestion he'd rotate out some of his starters, he still put out a strong side against Pachuca last week.
That side lost, but Santos stayed second thanks to other results falling the Guerreros' way.
They're a few results away from falling to the fourth or fifth seed, though, something that could be critical in a league where the better regular-season finish is the second tiebreaker after away goals in a playoff series.
Even with seeding concerns, Santos obviously is sitting much better off than Pumas, who are a point out of the final playoff spot. Last weekend, Nicolas Castillo scored a hat trick to help top Puebla, 4-2.
With injuries to Kevin Escamilla and Luis Quintana plus a suspension for Mauro Formica forcing David Patino to switch things up, Pumas will be forced to get comfortable quickly with a lineup they may not be used to.
While Castillo has been key for Pumas, more critical has been getting offensive contributions from someone other than the Chilean. Jesus Gallardo assisted a pair of goals Sunday, one of which was scored by Matias Alustiza.
Should Pumas get attacking contributions from more than just Castillo, they may be able to go after former teammate Gerardo Alcoba, who is filling in at center back for the injured Nestor Araujo. Then, they'll have to keep Liga MX leading scorer Djaniny from adding to the 14 goals he's scored this season.
It won't be easy, but no one said making the playoffs would be easy. Sunday could decide whether or not Pumas are in or out of the Liguilla.