The Pachuca vs Santos first leg semifinal Liga MX playoff match will be held this Wednesday, May 7, 2014 (6:30 PM Pacific) at the Estadio Hidalgo in Pachuca. Pachuca have unexpectedly made it to the semifinals, after barely qualifying to the playoffs, and subsequently eliminating Pumas in the quarterfinals. Santos Laguna will try to end Pachuca’s dream by earning a positive result from the Estadio Hidalgo.
Pachuca were nearly knocked out of the playoffs in Week 17, when they were down 3-0 to Queretaro with just 15 minutes left in the regular season. However, in a historic comeback, Pachuca scored 4 goals in a quarter of an hour, and went on to win the match, which was just enough to push them into the playoff spots.
Entering the quarterfinals as the 6th seed, Pachuca went on to face 3rd placed Pumas, an erratic team that never impressed in the regular season. Pachuca would draw the home leg 1-1, only to defeat Pumas in Mexico City by a score of 4-2, thus earning a ticket to the semifinal.
Pachuca have a modest squad, although they do have two big things in their favor. First, it is the experience of Coach Enrique Meza, the veteran manager has participated in countless playoffs, and is no stranger to the pressure. Meza will certainly be more than up to the task of facing Caixinha.
Second, Pachuca have Liga MX leading striker Enner Valencia, who has scored 15 goals this season. If Meza sets up a smart formation, and Valencia has a good game, it could prove to just be enough to give Pachuca an edge headed into Saturday’s match at the TSM.
On the other hand, we have Santos, a team that knows how to do one thing very well, score many, many goals. Santos scored 33 goals during the regular season, and managed to score 6 times against Club America in the quarterfinals. However, their powerful offense comes at a cost, Santos had the second worst defense in the regular season, with 29 goal against, also going on to allow 6 goals in the quarterfinals.
If Caixinha wants to move on to the Liga MX Final, he has to somehow gets his defense to work… or he could just do what he has done all season long, simply try to play an open game and overwhelm the opponent with a barrage of goals.
Pachuca vs Santos Prediction
Pachuca will be playing at home, and it is very likely that Meza will use a defensive formation, trying to ensure Santos don’t score an away goal (which has proven to be vital in these playoffs). Caixinha will, of course, play his usual game and go all out on the attack, looking to score at least one away goal.
Given that Santos have had terrible defending all season long, and that Pachuca have Enner Valencia, the best striker in the league, I predict a high scoring match. The Pachuca vs Santos match will end in a 2-2 draw that gives the advantage to Santos. Look for another high scoring game in the return leg, where Santos will eventually come out with a ticket to the Liga MX Final.
Pachuca vs Santos Television
The Pachuca vs Santos match will be televised on Univision Deportes at 6:30 PM Pacific.
Pachuca vs Santos Highlights
The Pachuca vs Santos match highlights will be uploaded as soon as the match ends.