Santos Laguna is the surprise leader more than halfway through the Liga MX Clausura, and Saturday is another big chance to reinforce its credentials.
The Guerreros host last season's regular-season champion Monterrey at the Estadio Corona, looking to extend their advantage in first place.
Rayados come into the match in eighth place, a position Antonio Mohamed's side never expected to be in this far into the season.
Disappointment aside, Monterrey can climb the table and reestablish itself as a contender with a statement win in Torreon on Sunday night.
|Game||Santos Laguna vs. Monterrey|
|Date||Sunday, March 11|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
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SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Position||Santos Laguna players|
|Goalkeepers||Orozco, Acevedo, Garcia|
|Defenders||Izquierdoz, Araujo, Alcoba, Villafana, Arteaga, Abella, Sanchez, Ibanez, Bernal|
|Midfielders||Vazquez, Rivas, Andrade, Martinez, de Buen, Cortes, Rabello, Davila, Lozano, Martinez, Isijara|
|Forwards||Furch, Rodriguez, Djaniny|
Manager Robert Siboldi will rely on one of the league's best back lines and the attacking prowess of Djaniny, who leads Liga MX with 12 goals
Potential starting XI: Orozco; Abela, Izquierdoz, Araujo, Villafana; Isijara, Vazquez, Martinez, Lozano; Djaniny, Furch
|Goalkeepers||Gonzalez, Carrizo, Resendez|
|Defenders||Montes, Basanta, Sanchez, Portales, Vasquez, Alvarez, Vangioni, Velarde, Medina, Juarez|
|Midfielders||Molina, Ortiz, Zavala, J. Gonzalez, Amaya, Sanchez, A. Gonzalez, Urretaviscaya, Hurtado|
|Forwards||Funes Mori, Pabon, Benitez, Villa, Cruz|
Manager Antonio Mohamed will have to change things around, as he will be missing Alfonso Gonzalez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Leonel Vangioni, and likely Jonathan Gonzalez because of injuries.
Potential starting XI: Gonzalez; Molina, Sanchez, Basanta; Medina, Zavala, Ortiz, Velarde; Pabon, Hurtado, Funes Mori
Neither Monterrey or Santos Laguna expected to be where they are after 10 matches of the Clausura.
Monterrey was supposed to be at or near the top of the table and instead, Rayados are in the final Liguilla spot, battling for their playoff lives.
Santos Laguna, meanwhile, are flying high, sitting in first place and looking every bit like a title contender.
Robert Siboldi's side has done it through a solid defense led by the center-back duo of Nestor Araujo and Carlos Izquierdoz, and the scoring exploits of Djaniny, who leads the league with 12 goals in just 10 games.
Victory against their northern rivals would put the rest of Liga MX on notice: Guerreros are for real.
Monterrey, which cruised to a first-place finish in the Clausura before being shocked in the final by local rivals Tigres, may still not have completely gotten over that heartbreaking defeat.
Antonio Mohamed has attempted to change around his formation and playing style due to a number of injuries, but he hasn't quite found the winning formula that he had in the Clausura.
Rayados are just 4-3-3 and head to the Estadio Corona missing a number of key pieces due to injury.
Plenty can change in the season's last seven matches and if Rayados can come away with three points in Torreon, they could go a long way toward reestablishing themselves as a title contender.