Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Atlante
When: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
Time: 7:06 P.M. PST
TV: Fox Sports 2 Mexico
The Tijuana Xolos will begin their participation in the Copa MX 2019 Clausura tournament this Tuesday, Jan. 15, as the Aztec Canines host second division side Atlante at the Estadio Caliente.
The Copa MX tournament features teams from both the Liga MX and the Ascenso MX, Mexico’s second-tier league. The Xoloitzcuintles are in Group 1 of the competition with Pachuca from the Liga MX and Atlante of the Ascenso MX.
Club Tijuana has had a dreadful start to the new Liga MX season with two losses, five goals allowed, and no goals scored. New manager Oscar Pareja has not had a very promising start, but could start to turn it around with a very manageable task on Tuesday night.
The Xolos are still trying to figure things out in the attack, and this tournament may allow Pareja to explore other options. Gustavo Bou was recently added to Tijuana, but he is not yet ready to play, so Pareja may give some younger players like Daniel Lopez, Antonio Nava, and Ivan Tona some playing time.
Joe Corona and Eryc Castillo are other players that have received limited playing time in the Liga MX and could possibly make an impact in this tournament. It will be interesting to see which players Pareja does use and if the border city team can finally score in 2019.
Atlante is currently in bad form, coming off a 3-1 loss to Correcaminos in the Ascenso MX and a 2-1 loss to Pachuca in the Copa MX. However, Los Potros de Hierro did have an impressive 5-1 win against Sonora to start out the Ascenso MX season and do have one of the more talented rosters in the second division.
The team from Cancun is managed by Gabriel Pereyra, who had an extensive playing career, including stints in the Liga MX with Cruz Azul, Atlante, Morelia, and Puebla. Atlante also has quite a few former Liga MX players like Luis Venegas, Carlos Calvo, and Patrick Soko. However, It is unclear if Pereyra will use his key players or use an alternate lineup with youngsters and role players.
Players to Watch
Oscar Pareja had said in a previous press conference that one of the youngsters that had impressed him was 18-year-old midfielder Ivan Tona. The Sonora native has been playing with the Xolos U-20 team, but could be getting his first-team debut on Tuesday night.
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder scored in Atlante’s 2-1 loss to Pachuca in the Copa MX and should be hungry for more goals.
Club Tijuana has a much better team than Atlante and should not struggle in this game, especially in front of the home crowd. EVT predicts a 3-1 win for the Xoloitzcuintles as it should prove to be a straight forward game for Oscar Pareja’s men.
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.