Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Puebla
When: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Where: Estadio Caliente
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos will start their campaign in the new edition of the Copa MX this Tuesday, August 1 at the Estadio Caliente. Club Tijuana is placed in Group 4 of the competition along with Puebla and second tier side Atlante. The Xoloitzcuintles are the favorites to take this group but recent struggles with the club may see some unexpected results on the field. Eduardo Coudet and the Aztec Canines will have immense pressure to perform well in this tournament, especially with the recent struggles in the Liga MX.
The new era of professional soccer in Tijuana under Eduardo Coudet is off to a disastrous start with two losses and no goals in Liga MX play. The Prehistoric Dogs lost 2-0 against Cruz Azul in the opening game of the season, then followed up that disappointing performance with a 1-0 loss against Necaxa away from home. “El Chacho” Coudet had promised a “dynamic, intense, offensive” style of play but Tijuana has looked like a bland, pragmatic and uninteresting team. Things must change in the border city and this Copa MX game could be a good stepping stone to success in this new season. Players who have not featured in Liga MX for the Xolos like Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Luis Angel Mendoza and Chula Vista’s own Paul Arriola could get an opportunity to start in this game. Eduardo Coudet could then take the performances from the players in this game to see who his best options for Liga MX games are. This game is a vital one for the Xolos and is a great parameter to see just how dismantled or promising the team is.
Puebla was the worst team during the Clausura 2017, finishing dead last in 18th with only 16 points. La Franja is set for another underwhelming season under new manager Rafael Garcia. Los Camoteros only have one point in the Liga MX after two weeks but did beat Atlante 1-0 in the first match of the Copa MX. The last time La Franja visited the Estadio Caliente, it did not go great for them as the Xolos defeated the Southern Mexican side 6-2. Puebla has some intriguing players, who can cause problems for Eduardo Coudet’s team but they should not stand a chance, especially away from home even if “El Chacho” brings out an alternate squad.
Players to Watch
Jose Antonio Rodriguez
There is a new goalkeeper in the border city this season that can fight for the regular starting role held by Gibran Lajud. His name is Jose Antonio Rodriguez and with the recent crucial errors by Lajud that have cost Club Tijuana dearly, this could be a fantastic opportunity for the 25-year-old to prove himself. Rodriguez will not be facing the strongest opposition but a solid performance here could bring “Tono” a step closer to taking that starting role.
The Chula Vista native was on the bench for the game against Necaxa but did not get any minutes in the match. Arriola is coming off a strong showing in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with the United States national team and should be in great form to make an impact for the Xolos. The right-midfield slot is still a mystery for the Xolos, Eduardo Coudet has tried Mauricio Cuero and Matias Pisano but both have been unable to impress in that position. This could be a good chance for the 22-year-old to gain Coudet’s trust and break the starting 11 consistently.
Club Tijuana is off to a gruesome start to this transitional phase from Miguel Herrera to Eduardo Coudet but this is a good test for the club that could serve as a boost of confidence. The Xoloitzcuintles are coming off two very disappointing losses and will be facing a weaker side at home. The border city side is expected to take the three points from the game but the style of play should also be distinct than what has been shown early on this season. The prediction for the game is a comfortable 2-1 win for the Xolos with not much pressure from Puebla throughout the encounter. It will be interesting to see what starting 11 Eduardo Coudet opts for as well as how the team can perform in this game that the team is expected to win.
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.