Santos Laguna – Match Report vs Pachuca 08/03/20

It was a match that could have gone either way between Santos Laguna and Pachuca, with both teams having great opportunities to score, but in the end it was Pachuca that collected the three points thanks to a first half rebound. Neither side was able to dominate possession as it became a scrappy midfield battle at times in a match that saw some reckless challenges made throughout. Pachuca looked to break quickly when in possession and this is where their goal came from as their goalkeeper collected a shot and they quickly broke up the other end to score.

Santos set up in a 4-4-2 system where by the fullbacks were tasked with providing the width, regularly making overlapping runs in an attempt to create overloads in wide areas and get deliveries into the box. Up front they had Julio Furch, a 6’2″ target man who they aimed to hit with their crosses, but in the end they did not consistently provide enough quality deliveries. They looked dangerous from set pieces, squandering at least two free headers whilst they also attempted a few shots from distance that only occasionally troubled the keeper. Their inability to create sufficient chances from open play, coupled with them not taking the chances that did fall for them meant that it wasn’t to be for Santos.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Gerardo Arteaga

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 07/09/1998
  • Current Club: Santos Laguna
  • Career: Santos Laguna
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Gerardo Arteaga had an excellent match at left back, despite his team losing. In possession, the Mexican had impressive levels of close control, with his first touch being consistently to a high standard whilst he also demonstrated his ability to beat players in one v one situations or retain possession under pressure. He linked up well with his teammates in tight areas and used some trickery when on the ball to create space for himself. He provided a lot of width for his team down the left wing, timing his runs well when overlapping so that he had momentum when running on to the ball.

The 21 year old’s pace allowed him to get past defenders and he put some dangerous deliveries into the box, finding good areas but unable to find a teammate. His injection of pace also allowed him to execute some nice give and go’s that created space out wide, as he rarely drifted in field. Perhaps his crosses could have been more towards a teammate rather than looking for areas at times and he also occasionally had a tendency to overplay which meant he missed a good chance to deliver a ball into the box. However, on the whole he was a very effective attacking threat for Santos and a constant thorn in the side of the Pachuca defence.

Defensively Arteaga was also impressive as, despite his eagerness to get forward, he was rarely caught out of position. At just 5’8 and with a slim build, Arteaga is not a physical presence which occasionally hindered him but he battled aggressively in duels and more than stood his ground, whilst also making some solid defensive headers. When an attacker was running at him with the ball, the Mexican stood up well rather than diving in, delaying the opponent and waiting for an opportunity to make a challenge and this made him difficult to beat. He was a positive defender, who looked to step out the line and make interceptions or press high up when the opportunity presented itself. He tucked in well when the ball was on the other wing in order to provide cover for the centre backs and showed good defensive awareness.

Overall, Arteaga put on a near perfect display from left back both in attack and defence with the only real area for improvement being the accuracy of his final delivery.

Rating: A1

Felix Torres

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 11/01/1997
  • Current Club: Santos Laguna
  • Career: LDU Portoviejo, Barcelona S.C., Santos Laguna
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Felix Torres showed some quality and seemed relatively solid at the back, but also made some errors which cost his team. Standing at 6’2 and with a strong build, Torres is a physical and aerial presence at the back for his team whilst also displaying a good turn of pace when necessary. He used his strength well in duels, winning some important defensive headers and making some decisive clearances and interventions.

However, he showed some naivety in his decision making, allowing the ball to bounce instead of attacking it, and getting caught in no mans land on a couple of occasions which allowed the opposition to get a cross or shot off. Moreover at times he was slow to anticipate situations and therefore was unable to get round quick enough on the cover, but he was also able to use his pace to sweep up loose balls a couple of times. His one v one defending varied, showing ability to stand up his man and jockey him away from goal, but also making some clumsy challenges that resulted in him eventually receiving a yellow card.

Torres was confident in possession but this confidence turned to complacency once or twice as he gave the ball away. He was comfortable when passing along the back line, using good technique to make firm passes to feet and was happy to step out the defensive line with the ball. When he did step out he had mixed success, making some positive passes into forwards yet also seeing one or two be intercepted, leaving his side exposed to Pachuca’s pace on the counter attack. The Ecuadorian provided an aerial threat from set pieces and really should have scored with a free header from about 8 yards out, instead glancing his header wide.

Overall, Torres was an imposing physical presence who seemed comfortable on the ball, but he also made several poor decisions which hindered his all round performance.

Rating: B1

Eduardo Aguirre

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 03/08/1998
  • Current Club: Santos Laguna
  • Career: Santos Laguna, Tampico (L)
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Aguirre showed glimpses of quality but struggled to get into the game for long periods before being substituted just past the hour mark. Playing as a second striker, the Mexican worked hard to run the channels for his team, making some good runs in behind the full backs and off the shoulders of the central defenders. His first touch varied, sometimes letting the ball get away from him, but once he had it under his spell he showed good close control when dribbling and made a couple of creative flicks and passes.

At 5’9 he was unable to provide much of an aerial threat but had a good burst of pace when trying to get in behind. However, Aguirre failed to ever really threaten the Pachuca goal and was unable to involve himself in the build up or get on the end of crosses. The 21 year old worked hard to track back and cut passing lanes but on the whole failed to have much of an impact.

Rating: C

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