Tijuana Xolos: Early Assessment of Damian Musto

Credit: Xolos

The Tijuana Xolos only have one point and one goal in this Apertura 2017 and the problems are evident on each component of the team.

Losing key players this off-season, and controversial manager Miguel Herrera, is where all the problems seem to stem from.

“El Piojo” did not leave alone to Club America, which is the problem. The Mexican manager took defensive midfielder Guido Rodriguez with him. The Argentine midfielder was arguably the most important player on the border city team last season and his absence is very evident on the team in this Apertura 2017.

The man who was set to replace the young and promising Rodriguez on Club Tijuana is the 30-year-old, Damian Musto.

The veteran midfielder was brought to Mexican soccer from Rosario Central in Argentina by Eduardo Coudet this off-season. The move was controversial as Coudet managed him before, and the decision to bring him onto the Xoloitzcuintles may have been heavily influenced by that. Musto has played in all four games this season and has inclusively featured in all 360 possible minutes of play.

The Argentine slides right into that role that Guido Rodriguez held at Club Tijuana and shares a similar physical presence to him, and even sports the number five on his jersey. The man who was brought in to replace the departed Rodriguez has many similarities to him, but is still a completely different player on the pitch.

Musto has been decent, but really quiet and unnoticeable during these first four games. The stats really do not do the Argentine’s performance justice, both in a positive and negative way. The veteran displays his inner-leadership throughout the games, which is a nice attribute, as most of the other Xolos’ players do not offer this trait.

The South American midfielder is among the top players in completed passes, touches of the ball, and recovered balls in the Liga MX Apertura 2017. Musto is fifth in completed passes with 210, second in touches of the ball with 292, and third in recovered balls with 99. You would not be able to tell that Musto leads in these statistics by watching him play as he does not seem to offer the contribution of the magnitude of those numbers.

Guido Rodriguez also was a top player in the Liga MX in those statistics with Xolos, but the monumental difference is the offensive capabilities of the two players. Musto clearly lacks the vision and shooting abilities that Rodriguez has and is also not as mobile as the younger Argentine. The mobility is also a huge issue as Musto must cover a lot of ground in his position, but seems to get lost in his position like Jorge Ortiz did in the midfield during last season. The midfield has arguably been one of the weaker components of this team this season, and with Musto at the heart of it, he does share a lot of the blame. Musto looks to have potential to be a solid defensive midfielder in the league, but it looks like he will have nowhere near the impact that Guido Rodriguez once brought to the border city team.

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. 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 Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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