Santos Laguna – Match Report vs. CF Montreal (15/02/2022)

Santos Laguna edged past CF Montreal 1-0 thanks to a late winner. It was a well-deserved goal as Santos Laguna was in control for the vast majority of the game. Montreal generally looked to counter in a 3-4-3 while Santos Laguna lined up with a 4-4-2 diamond and controlled most of the possession and dangerous chances 

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, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Omar Campos 

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: July 20th, 2002
  • Current Club: Santos Laguna 
  • Career: Santos Laguna
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred Foot: Left

Omar Campos looked very composed at left-back against Montreal. The Canadian team mostly tried to attack by playing through balls into space behind Santos Laguna’s defence. But Campos was regularly in the correct position to cut out these passes and retain possession when he did so. Aside from one comically mistimed slide tackle, Campos pretty much never looked like he was in trouble defensively. He showed great positional and tactical awareness in general. Even in a couple of situations where he was isolated 1v1 against a Montreal player did a good job of jockeying against them and forcing them to take a less dangerous shot. His strong positioning is important because he is not the most physically gifted player. He has quite a small build and he is not slow but he isn’t remarkably quick either. In attack, he generally stuck to wide positions and helped stretch the Montreal defence with his positioning. There were also a couple of occasions where he restarted play quickly from a dead ball and almost caught Montreal players out of position. But if there was a downside to Campos’ game it was that he didn’t show a lot of creativity going forward. He often chose to just play a short simple pass to another attacking player rather than make a more risky play by himself. When he did attempt a more direct attacking move it was a fairly aimless cross from the touchline. He did look comfortable with the ball at his feet with strong close control and mostly accurate passing. So the technical and tactical skills are there for a more dangerous offensive game to develop but it’s not quite there yet. 

Rating: A2

Campos showed great defensive positioning, tactical awareness, and ball retention ability. He is already a very good defensive fullback, especially for a player who is only 19. But to take the next step he is going to have to show more offence than he did in this game. In fairness to him, a quick glance at Wyscout suggests he usually has a bit more to offer. His offensive ability will be something to watch for in future viewings for sure. Overall this viewing left me very confident that he will get to a higher level in the future. 

Eduardo Aguirre

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: August 3rd, 1998
  • Current Club: Santos Laguna 
  • Career: Santos Laguna
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Although he did not manage to score, Aguirre was a menace. He showed a great ability to get in behind the Montreal defenders, whether he was latching on to the end of long-range passes or taking advantage of slips. Aguirre showed great pace both with and without the ball. His quick acceleration allowed him to snap up loose balls and unsettle defenders when he ran at them. Sometimes when running with the ball he would take a touch that was a little on the heavy side and the ball would get away from him. However, his first touch was solid enough and Aguirre was able to control long-range passes in behind well enough to get off some dangerous shots. Though he was frequently matched up against the much bigger Joel Waterman he didn’t show any hesitation to play physically. He was not winning headers, necessarily, but he didn’t show any hesitation to throw himself into aerial challenges against players that were significantly larger than him (he stands 5’8 with a slight build). He has a good vertical jump but his small size meant that if he was jumping directly against someone then he could be pushed aside. So despite his struggles in the air aren’t down to any lack of effort but physical realities get in his way. He played most of the game as Santos Laguna’s most advanced player, making himself available to receive the ball from Brian Lozano and fellow striker Harold Preciado. He did not drop from that position very often. As a result, his passing was mostly short and simple. He was much more likely to be on the end of an attacking move than he was to be involved in the build-up. 

Rating: A1

Aguirre is 23 so he’s not a total youngster. There also aren’t that many leagues in the world that are a clear and obvious step up from Liga MX. But for teams on a budget, he might represent an interesting buy-low option. So far this season he has managed to score twice off of 7.66 xG. That isn’t going to last forever and his current transfermarkt value is listed at 2.2 million. So if you’re a team in a big league on a budget and you need a pacey striker to stretch opposition defences then Aguirre represents good value for money. Also, it wouldn’t exactly be a step up but this performance suggests to me that someone in MLS should see if they can snap him up as a designated player. He has already shown he can be a menace against a solid MLS team and because of the reasons outlined above he would probably come at a reasonable price. 

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