Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna - Prediction, Betting Odds & Picks
- Noteworthy players will be missing for Santos Laguna
- Highlighting Cruz Azul’s brilliant run of form
- An MVP candidate for Cruz Azul is ready to find the back of the net once again
|What||Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna|
|Where||Estadio Olimpico Universitario (Mexico City, Mexico)|
|When||Saturday, July 25th at 10:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||Univision, TUDN|
Cruz Azul, the best Liga MX team of (a so far bizarre) 2020, are back. Before the COVID-19 pandemic knocked the sporting world to its feet, Cruz Azul was flying high as the 1st place team in a 2020 Clausura season that was brought to a halt and canceled in March.
Following a few months off, the Mexico City giants hit the ground running once again this July after winning a preseason tournament, the Copa Por Mexico.
Can Santos Laguna slow them down? In spite of their 3rd place position in the previous Clausura tournament, the team has since lost star midfielder Brian Lozano to injury. Starting goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, who is arguably one of the top Mexican players in net, also recently left the squad after being traded to Club Tijuana.
We’ve seen stranger results in Liga MX — and Cruz Azul are infamous for shooting themselves in the foot — but it might be too big of a task for Santos to clinch at least a point this weekend…
Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna Odds
Odds taken from DraftKings
That’ll be an uphill climb for Santos. Without a couple of key players, it’s difficult to assume they’ll get much from a battle against last season’s top team.
The Detrimental Absence of Orozco And Lozano For Santos
June was a harsh month for Santos fans.
First came the injury for Lozano. On the 20th, it was revealed that the team’s star midfielder had suffered an injury and was set to go under an operation. A speedy recovery for the team’s most important playmaker would be at the end of the season, at best.
A few days after the injury news, Club Tijuana then announced that they had signed Orozco, Santos’ starting goalkeeper since late 2016. In his place, Santos received Tijuana’s Gibran Lajud — who is the current leader in goals allowed over the last two seasons.
There’s no doubt that Santos is missing key players. Without them, they could be set up to fail against a team that is charging into the season with plenty of confidence.
Cruz Azul Set To Keep Up Their Momentum
The best team from last season has just gotten better. After starting off the year in red-hot form, Cruz Azul made headlines by bringing in the likes of Ignacio Rivero and Jose Joaquin “Shaggy” Martinez.
Rivero steps in as a utilitarian midfielder and defender. Accomplished in a number of positions, the Uruguayan is a versatile presence that adds even more depth to the roster. As for Shaggy, the risk-taking fullback has the capabilities of becoming the most lethal bench player in Liga MX with his speed and tenacity that could help clinch late wins.
With these two additions, Cruz Azul was firing on all cylinders as they tore through their opposition in this month’s Copa Por Mexico. Coupled with some impressive performances from young backups, Los Cementeros sealed their championship with a win in last week’s cup final against Chivas.
Trophy in hand, it’s safe to say that Cruz Azul is one of the favorites in the upcoming season.
Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodriguez, An MVP In The Waiting For Cruz Azul
We haven’t even had a chance to discuss the team’s top player, Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodriguez. Powerful, pacey and full of energy, the winger was the leading goalscorer in the previous and shortened Clausura tournament.
Rodriguez didn’t lose any steam in the recent Copa Por Mexico either. Almost as if releasing his pent up energy from the break in play since March, the winger dominated the tournament with his blistering speed and crafty dribbling that eventually helped Cruz Azul lift the title.
Keeping in mind that Santos will be downgrading their goalkeeper in net, Rodriguez could finish this weekend’s game with at least one or two goals. Looking further into the season, while also looking back at what he accomplished in the first half of 2020, he should be one of the contenders for the league’s MVP award.
This is an easy one. While Cruz Azul are showing an immense amount of confidence, Santos are filled with serious doubts regarding their roster. Pick Cruz Azul for the win.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.