The Tijuana Xolos played Chivas de Guadalajara at the Estadio Akron this Tuesday, Aug.22, for a match in the Liga MX 2023 Apertura. Liga MX resumed play this past weekend after a three-week hiatus due to the Leagues Cup, which featured Liga MX and MLS teams.
Club Tijuana did not play over the weekend due to scheduling reasons, as this was the Xoloitzcuintles’ first match back in domestic play. The Border City team lost a couple players in the last few weeks; Braian Romero and team captain Alexis Canelo left the club.
The Prehistoric Dogs had a very rough time in the United States, losing to the Philadelphia Union and Queretaro. Xolos basically had three weeks without any official game, as rhythm was a concern heading into this match. The game was set to be a tough task against a Chivas team that was undefeated heading into the encounter.
Miguel Herrera named Colombian midfielder Christian Rivera as the new team captain, heading into this first match without Alexis Canelo. “Piojo” deployed an intriguing lineup with the strike partnership of Carlos Gonzalez and Lucas Cavallini. Youngsters Ivan Tona and Francisco Contreras also comprised part of the starting 11, while players like Alejandro Martinez and Fernando Madrigal stayed on the bench. Antonio Rodriguez also came back in net after suffering a minor injury in the Leagues Cup.
The first half ended scoreless somehow, with Chivas bombarding Rodriguez’s net throughout the opening 45 minutes. Some key moments in the first half included a penalty awarded by VAR to Chivas in the 42nd minute due to a handball by Francisco Contreras. Victor Guzman stepped up to take the penalty, but his effort was stopped by Antonio Rodriguez, who was Club Tijuana’s best player in the match by far.
The defining moment of the game came a few minutes after the penalty when Lucas Cavallini received a straight red card for elbowing Chivas’ Antonio Briseno. The expulsion was controversial, as it was very unclear if there was any sort of intention by Cavallini.
In the second half, down to 10 men, Club Tijuana struggled heavily to generate much of anything offensively. Chivas finally struck in the 67th minute with a goal by Roberto Alvarado to get the defining 1-0 lead. Alvarado scored with a shot from inside of the penalty area from an impressive angle off a perfect pass by Fernando Gonzalez.
That goal would be the decider at the Estadio Akron due to an outstanding effort by Club Tijuana goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez. This game was a story that Xolos have seen consistently throughout the last couple of seasons, a bad game with an impressive display by Rodriguez in net.
Miguel Herrera’s second stint with the Xoloitzcuintles is not going as planned, and there seem to be no signs of improvement. The border city club will now return home this next Friday, Aug.25, to face Mazatlan at the Estadio Caliente in what is a very winnable game for Xolos.
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.