The Apertura 2017 tournament was not an ideal one by any stretch of the imagination for the Tijuana Xolos.
Fans had to endure seeing the border city team not win, or score, for three consecutive games to start off the competition, and then see the team not make the playoffs.
Particularly towards the end of the campaign, there were some very bleak performances by the Aztec Canines and there was inclusively some reported financial problems as well. Still, after finishing in 11th place with 21 points, without a spot in the playoffs, there are still several things Xolos’ fans should be thankful for. Here are five:
Relegation is always a worrying topic in the Liga MX as a team can go from being worth tens of millions of dollars (or more) to around a million dollars. The Tijuana Xolos are still very young, with only six years of experience in the top flight of Mexican soccer, but seem to be a franchise that will stay for many decades to come. Club Tijuana is currently ninth on the relegation table and should keep on moving up in ranking as the seasons go by. Relegation is not a concern for the border city side as fighting for the title has now become the primary objective for the team.
As mentioned before, fighting for the Liga MX title is the primary objective for the Tijuana Xolos. The team also focuses on making money by buying players from South America cheap to later make a profit. But this is a tactic that has worked very well for Jorge Alberto Hank and his front office and the team has managed to consistently stay competitive because of it. The team does sell on players, but does spend it as well, like in this past transfer window when Club Tijuana sold players like Aviles Hurtado and Guido Rodriguez, but brought in players like Gustavo Bou and Damian Musto.
The Xolos have typically been a team that doesn’t want to be like the rest, that wants to stand out and try new things in Mexican soccer. A lot of Liga MX teams usually opt to hire the same “recycled” managers that keep on finding jobs in the league. The Xolos have had some of these managers in the past, like Ruben Omar Romano and Daniel Guzman, but usually are a team that takes risks and tries out new projects. Eduardo Coudet was a risk that didn’t quite pay off, but there was potential in him, and all of the managers that are being rumored for the vacant managerial role in Tijuana are very intriguing names. Luis Zubeldia has managed in the league before, but isn’t the typical option. Then there are names like former USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Independiente coach Ariel Holan, who are also linked to the job.
The Estadio Caliente is one of the best and most beautiful soccer stadiums in Mexico. Yes, the capacity isn’t top-notch at 27,333, but there are plans on expanding the stadium that are already underway. There really is no bad seat in the stadium as even the cheapest ticket can get you a great view of the game. The atmosphere that is created at the Mictlan is the best for any sporting event in the San Diego/Tijuana area, and if you haven’t yet, you must visit it soon.
Not to toot our own horns here at East Village Times, but the coverage of the team is phenomenal in both English and Spanish. There are respectable journalists on both sides of the border that try to provide the best coverage possible for the border city team from various different outlets. The Tijuana Xolos are one of the only Liga MX teams that have extensive coverage of the team in English. The Aztec Canines are one of only two Liga MX teams that have official Twitter and Facebook accounts in English. There is also always a section in English in all match-day programs that are given out at the Estadio Caliente. Not to mention a podcast, co-hosted by yours truly, that is available on iTunes and Google Play Music.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.