Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Alebrijes de Oaxaca
When: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2018
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
Time: 7:15 P.M. PST
TV: Fox Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos finished first in Group 1 of the Copa MX with seven points and are now in the knockout stage of the competition. The Aztec Canines finished as the eighth overall seed in the tournament and will now host Alebrijes de Oaxaca in the round of 16.
The Xoloitzcuintles had two wins, a draw and a loss in the group stage of the Copa MX, finishing with a 2-1 win against Pachuca at home. Manager Oscar Pareja has expressed the importance of the competition and has used some of his key starters like Diego Braghieri, Gustavo Bou and Miller Bolanos throughout the group stage.
Fabian Castillo and Ariel Nahuelpan are currently injured and are set to miss this game, but it should not be a problem as Pareja has also used youth and rotational players. Some other intriguing players that may feature for the Border City Dogs in this game include young striker Daniel Lopez and Colombian defensive midfielder Kevin Balanta.
The Xolos are now undefeated in their last six games in all competitions as the attack has shaped up very nicely. The Hairless Dogs are the favorites in this match, given their current run of form and the home-field advantage at the Estadio Caliente.
Alebrijes de Oaxaca finished first in Group 5 of the Copa MX ahead of Liga MX teams Cruz Azul and Leon. Oaxaca finished as the ninth overall seed in the tournament and are currently excelling in the Mexican second-tier league in fourth place.
The Southern Mexican team is managed by former Liga MX player Alex Diego and has some former Liga MX players like Rodrigo Noya, Taufic Guarch and Carlos Rosel. Alex Diego has not been using all of his key players in the tournament, but should use a strong lineup given the importance of the match. Alebrijes de Oaxaca is undefeated in its last two Ascenso MX games and finished off Copa MX group stage play with a surprising 1-0 win against Cruz Azul at the Estadio Azteca.
Players to Watch
Bou has been on fire recently with three goals and two assists in his last three games in all competitions. The Argentine forward scored a goal and picked up an assist against Pachuca on the last match day of the Copa MX group stage and should be a key player for Club Tijuana in this clash.
Noya is Oaxaca’s captain and has Liga MX experience with Veracruz, previously winning the Copa MX in the 2016 Clausura season. The Argentine centre-back has an immense physical presence and can be deadly on set-pieces with his height, strength and aerial abilities. Noya also serves as a secret weapon for Oaxaca on throw-ins as he launches the ball into the penalty area, making throw-ins like corner kicks.
EVT predicts a 2-0 win for the Xoloitzcuintles as they are the heavy favorites in this match and should be able to go through to the quarterfinals without many complications.
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.