Teenagers Propel Xolos Women’s Team to First Win in Liga MX Femenil

Credit: Xolos

The Xolos women’s team played its first home game of the Liga MX Femenil season this Saturday, August 5, against Monarcas Morelia.

The kickoff at the Estadio Caliente was at noon for this inaugural match and appropriately to the stadium’s name, it was very hot in the border city of Tijuana. The attendance seemed very poor at the beginning of the match, but people started to trickle into the border city fortress as the game went on. The official announced attendance for the game was 1,333 fans, which was good for the third-best attendance in the Liga MX Femenil thus far.

There was a small sector of “La Masakre” or the ultras present at the game that stole the show in the stands, chanting and jumping throughout the encounter. The fans seemed to be very focused on the game and were also very respectful of the effort given by the players. The few fans who did make it to the Estadio Caliente witnessed a historic 2-0 win for the Club Tijuana Ladies over Monarcas Morelia. The first half offered a few chances from both teams, but nothing that caused too much danger.

The second half was a lot more exciting than the first and the border city side started to look a lot more dangerous than its opposition. After 145 minutes without a goal for the Xolos in the Liga MX Femenil, the first goal in the franchise’s history came in the 55th minute of the match. The 17-year-old, Evelyn Fernandez, was the first player to score a goal for Xolos Femenil in its history. The young lady commented on her historic moment after the match. Fernandez said, “It feels really nice. I saw the shot go in, and the first thing I wanted to do was dedicate it to the fans”.

The home support did not have to wait much longer to celebrate another goal as Club Tijuana went 2-0 up in the 63rd minute. Ericka Soto released a potent outside-of-the box shot that Morelia goalkeeper, Maria Ayala, got a hand on. Moments later, the second goal of the afternoon fell via 16-year-old Valeria Barajas, who had just come on as a substitute in the 52nd minute and was already making an impact on the game. The home support was heavily invested in the game and cheered on the Club Tijuana Ladies until the final whistle.

After that goal, the Xolos Femenil team defended the lead with the rigid defense that was impenetrable that afternoon. Goalkeeper and former UCSD student Itzel Gonzalez was also crucial in the game, pulling off outstanding saves throughout the encounter. Tijuana held on to the lead and the fans left the Estadio Caliente pleasantly, something that was not seen Friday night.

Head coach Andrea Rodebaugh commented in the postgame press conference that one of the keys to success was a mental aspect of the game. Rodebaugh said,” They kept control and were never overly confident”. The head coach also commented how important it is to the girls to play at the Estadio Caliente as not all teams are playing in Liga MX stadiums. Rodebaugh said, “It makes them feel like true professionals”, which is also a great confidence boost for the team. The Liga MX Femenil is still in its initial stages, but there are good signs of progress around the league. This historic win for the Club Tijuana Ladies put the border city side in fourth in Group 1 of the Liga MX Femenil with three points. Tijuana will face Pachuca next week away from home in what should be a very tough match against one of the best teams in the league.

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. 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 Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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