The Tijuana Xolos have progressed to the quarterfinal stage of the CONCACAF Champions League and will host the New York Red Bulls at the Estadio Caliente for the first leg of the series this Tuesday. On Monday, Xolos’ head coach Diego Cocca and Red Bulls’ manager Jesse Marsch talked to the media ahead of the first leg.
The MLS started up this past weekend, but the New York Red Bulls had a bye week to start up the new season.
Diego Cocca did mention that he and the team did get a chance to watch some MLS games over the weekend ahead of this matchup. The Argentine manager also mentioned that the fact that Red Bulls did not play this past weekend is an advantage for the American team. Jesse Marsch agreed with Cocca as he said, “We do understand that not having a game prepares us for Tuesday”.
There is a theory that the Liga MX is far better than MLS, but the Argentine does not seem to have this mentality going into this match as he said, “Nobody has an advantage over anybody”. Cocca seems to respect his opponent, but does seem to be more concerned about his own team as he declared, “Our only worry is ourselves”. Marsch, on the other hand, did talk about how the Liga MX is superior to the MLS, he said, “We understand the Liga MX has very good teams, players, and managers. We strive to be as good as the MX and to prove that our league is growing and catching up.”
The South American skipper did make some rotations between the Motagua series and the Liga MX and said, “In terms of rotations, everybody is a possibility” for these upcoming games. Club Tijuana has shown it has plenty of depth with recent results and it is still unclear as to how Cocca will set his team against the Red Bulls. Jesse Marsch talked about rotations as well. He said, “We are taking this tournament very seriously, we will put a very good team on the field tomorrow, we will use rotation, but I can promise you that we will put a very good team on the field tomorrow”.
Regardless of the players on the pitch, the game this Tuesday should be a very hard-fought and intense encounter at the Mictlan.
Club Tijuana is the better team and will have the home-field advantage in this first leg. Teams can struggle on the dry, synthetic turf of the Estadio Caliente and Jesse Marsch gave his opinion of the artificial grass. Marsch said, “We just went out there and saw what the standard of the turf is, it’s not great”. There are several factors heading into this match that may give advantages to one side over the other, but we should be due for an entertaining CCL clash.
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.