Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Cruz Azul
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
When: Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018
Time: 7:15 P.M. PST
TV: Fox Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos have made it past the group stage in the 2018 Apertura edition of the Copa MX and are now in the round of 16 in the competition. Club Tijuana finished first in Group 1 of the Copa MX ahead of FC Juarez and Toluca, good for the eighth seed in the tournament.
The Border City Dogs had just one loss in the group stage and are currently in tremendous form in the Liga MX. Diego Cocca’s team is on a three-game winning streak in league play and is coming off a 1-0 win against Pachuca.
The offense has been fairly inconsistent, but the defense has been spectacular as it has not allowed a goal in three consecutive matches. It is unclear if Diego Cocca will use an alternate squad for this game or instead use most of his consistent Liga MX starters.
The Argentine manager has expressed the importance of using youngsters in this Copa MX tournament and could stick with this ideology heading into this match. Some of the key players that may feature against La Maquina if an alternate squad is used include Jesus Angulo, Alejandro Guido, Rubio Rubin, Eryc Castillo and Daniel Lopez.
Cruz Azul finished first in Group 6 of the Copa MX and has been one of the top teams in the Liga MX so far. Los Cementeros are currently first in league play with 19 points and only have one loss and five goals allowed in 10 games.
The Mexico City team has been excelling with its revamped squad from last season that includes some former Xolos like Jose Maduena, Pablo Aguilar and Milton Caraglio. Pedro Caixinha has been using a lot of key starters in the cup competition and that should stay consistent now in the knockout stage.
La Maquina has one of the largest fan bases in the country and it will make its presence felt at the Estadio Caliente. This was seen the first time the two teams met in league play and will be seen again on Tuesday night at the Mictlan.
Players to Watch
Cauteruccio has been very effective this season with six goals in all competitions, including three in the Copa MX. The Uruguayan striker can be difficult to contain with his positioning and physical presence and should be a hassle for the Xolos’ backline.
The young Mexican winger has been one of the consistent starters for Diego Cocca in this competition and could get another opportunity on Tuesday night. Angulo has shown flashes of greatness in his playing time and definitely seems like a promising prospect. The 21-year-old has plenty of pace and skill that make him a lethal player to any defense in the league and that should be showcased against Cruz Azul.
The first time the two teams met this season there was nothing between them as it finished 1-1 in Week 4 of the Liga MX 2018 Apertura. EVT predicts a 2-2 draw in regulation time this time around with Club Tijuana advancing on penalties.