Tijuana Xolos begin Liga MX 2023 Apertura at home vs. Pumas UNAM

Nico Diaz Dinenno Xolos vs Pumas 2023

Credit: Xolos

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Xolos vs Pumas 2023
Credit: Xolos

Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Pumas UNAM

Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico

When: Friday, June 30, 2023

Time: 8:10 p.m. PST


The Tijuana Xolos will begin their Liga MX 2023 Apertura campaign this Friday, June 30, at the Estadio Caliente against Pumas UNAM. The border city team is looking to bounce back after a very rough 2023 Clausura season, in which they finished in 15th place with 16 points.

The Aztec Canines changed managers midway through the last season, appointing Miguel Herrera in mid-February. Club Tijuana only had two wins with Herrera at the helm, but it was with a team filled with players that he did not personally pick before the season started.

Heading into this season, Herrera had a plan in place to make some serious changes at the club, and he did, as he added seven players to the squad. Jose de Jesus Corona, Diego Barbosa, Kevin Balanta, Christian Rivera, Fernando Madrigal, Rafael Fernandez, and Carlos Gonzalez were all added to the roster. Aaron Mejia, Ivan Tona, and Alan Vega all also came back from loan deals and will be available for “Piojo” Herrera.

The Xoloitzcuintles also lost several players in the transfer window as Joaquin Montecinos, Lisandro Lopez, Misael Dominguez, Federico Lertora, Jair Diaz, Felipe Felix, Jose Juan Vazquez, Leonel Lopez, and Jonathan Orozco all left the club.

The Prehistoric Dogs will inclusively be without Antonio Rodriguez, Lucas Cavallini, and Eduardo Armenta to open the season, as they are all currently on international duty. Fernando Valenzuela is also unavailable to start the season with a serious knee injury that he has been dealing with since late April.

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Club Tijuana has a very different roster than last season and will have the advantage of starting the season with Miguel Herrera, who always looks to be a serious contender with any club he oversees.

The Xoloitzcuintles will have a tough task to open the season, as Antonio Mohamed and Pumas UNAM look to eagerly bounce back. Pumas UNAM finished the 2023 Clausura season in 14th place but picked up Antonio Mohamed as manager to try and compete this season.

Alexis Canelo Xolos
Credit: XoloGuero/EVT Sports

Mohamed has legendary status in Tijuana, as he is the only manager to take Club Tijuana to a Liga MX title back in the 2012 Apertura season. The Argentine coach is characterized by his counterattacking style of play, and he will likely use that tactic against an aggressive Miguel Herrera side. Pumas had some signings in the offseason bringing in goalkeeper Gil Alcala, Robert Egras, and Nathan Silva.

Last season without Mohamed or Herrera, the two teams played to a scoreless draw at the Estadio Caliente on January 27. This has the potential to be a very different match with the new high-profile managers in place to kick off the 2023 Apertura.

Players to Watch

Alexis Canelo

Canelo led Club Tijuana last season with five goals scored and was appointed the new team captain by “Piojo” Herrera. Canelo is a Liga MX veteran who can play all across the frontline and has a very good finishing ability that can be lethal against any club in the league.

Juan Dinenno

The Argentine striker scored eight goals and provided two assists for Pumas UNAM last season. Dinenno is the leading force in Pumas’ attack and is versatile in his game, as he can be a threat on the ground and in the air with his aerial ability and physical presence.

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