The Tijuana Xolos played their penultimate game of the Liga MX 2023 Apertura season this Saturday, Nov. 4, against Club America at the Estadio Azteca. This was Xolos’ last away game of the regular season, as they failed to earn any “real” wins on the road this season after a 3-0 thrashing at the Estadio Azteca.
Miguel Herrera made only one change to the starting 11 that was able to defeat Tigres UANL at home midweek, as Aaron Mejia replaced Francisco Contreras in the left-back slot. The decisive moment of the match came in the 61st minute when Kevin Balanta received his second yellow card of the match, and Club Tijuana was left with ten men.
Since it was a yellow card, VAR was unable to interfere in the controversial decision that completely changed the match. Balanta seemed to make very soft contact on Club America’s Henry Martin, and it is even questionable if there was any contact on the play. Down to 10 men, Club Tijuana was unable to compete much in the match, as Club America unleashed its powerful attack after the red card.
The first goal of the match came in the 73rd minute when Alejandro Zendejas scored via a shot from inside of the penalty area. The goal came off a wonderful play between Zendejas and Henry Martin, who earned an assist with a backheel pass.
America’s second goal of the night came just minutes after the first when Jonathan Rodriguez scored off a cross by Kevin Alvarez. Club Tijuana was clearly suffering with Balanta’s absence, who actually had put in a very solid performance before being sent off.
The final goal of the match came in the 85th minute, as Alvaro Fidalgo finished an opportunity inside the penalty area off a cross by Richard Sanchez. Las Aguilas found plenty of space up a man, which absolutely made all of the difference in this match. Before the red card, the Xoloitzcuintles were competing with great defensive work and a very strong performance by goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez.
Club Tijuana even controlled possession in the first half, but of course, that was impossible to do in the second half. The loss was definitely a frustrating one for Miguel Herrera and company due to the team’s efforts before Kevin Balanta was sent off.
The Tijuana Xolos are now in sixth place with 23 points, still with a ticket to the Liga MX quarterfinals at the time of writing. It will all ride on the Xoloitzcuintles’ final game of the season against Pachuca on Nov.10 at the Estadio Caliente.
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.