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San Luis and Pachuca will open the new season of the Liga MX on January 6 from the Estadio Alfonso Lastras Ramírez. San Luis finished the previous Liga MX season at 12th on the standings having picked up 20 points in 17 games. In that season, San Luis were able to score just 19 goals and conceded 23, with a goal difference of -4.
Pachuca were even worse off last season, with just 18 points in 17 games. They failed to win even one of their final five matches, which included three draws and two defeats. They scored the same number of goals as San Luis (19) and conceded two fewer (21), which is indicative of their inability to close out tight games.
This is an even money matchup, which means that the outcome could go either way. In such games, where the result is hard to call, it is always a prudent idea to back the draw, which incidentally has the highest odds.
San Luis will have to find their best offensive rhythm in this game considering they are up against a team that can be hard to dislodge defensively. Pachuca conceded fewer goals than San Luis last season, which will mean this will certainly be a game won or lost in the final third of the soccer pitch.
Most of San Luis’ goals come from a strong offensive core but the team does not have a single star that can break a game open with unparalleled skill. Last season, Germán Berterame was the team’s highest goal-scorer, with just three goals. That’s how this team plays their soccer.
Damián Batallini was the leading playmaker for the team with four assists last season. He was supported by Ricardo Chávez, who chipped in with two assists. The team will need to score well over 20 goals to have a chance this season even though this is a slower-paced league than their American counterparts in the MLS.
In a league where goals can be hard to come by, a player that can score 10 or more goals in a 17-match season can change the dynamics of a team. That is where Nicolas Ibanez comes in for Pachuca.
He was second in the goal-scoring charts last season, having scored 10 goals in 17 matches. Only one player, Pedro Canelo, scored more goals (11) through the course of the season.
Ibanez has the skill and ability to repeat his stellar performance from last season. And so, Pachuca will be looking to him to bring some fireworks in the final third here.
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In soccer, teams that can transition quickly across phases can break a game open. Case in point would be Manchester City in the Premier League, who can rapidly move through the phases and then finish off chances.
The Liga MX is a significantly slower league than the EPL or the Serie A, for example. That transitioning power holds particularly true in a league that is slow because it is atypical for teams to score too many goals. San Luis and Pachuca both managed to score just 19 goals this season at an average of just over one goal per game.
Pachuca will have to find a way to be a lot sturdier while closing out games. Last season, they fell out of the reckoning for the playoffs because of an inability to draw as many games as San Luis, who managed to draw two more games. In the end, those two points proved to be the difference between 12th and 15th in the Liga MX standings.
Pachuca will be low on confidence after failing to win one of their last five games, which will also impact their rhythm and momentum, but the quick turnaround might keep the team conditioned for a season that could see them finish in the top half.
San Luis will also be looking for a lot more vigour in the final third. And if they can find a player that can contribute with 10 goals, then there is no reason why San Luis can’t improve on their middling finish from last season.
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|Atletico San Luis vs Pachuca Information
|Atletico San Luis vs Pachuca
|Estadio Alfonso Lastras Ramírez
|Thursday, January 6 at 10.00 PM EST onwards
|How to watch
|Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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