The Tijuana Xolos played their sixth game in the Liga MX 2023 Apertura season this Friday, Sept. 1, at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc against Puebla. Heading into this match, Xolos were on a four-game winless streak, coming off an uninspiring 1-1 draw against Mazatlan at home.
Club Tijuana was unable to compete against a struggling Puebla team that had just parted ways with its manager a couple of weeks ago. Puebla was coming off a 1-0 win against FC Juarez, but this was still a very winnable game for the Border City Dogs. However, given the Xoloitzcuintles’ historically bad road struggles, a negative result from this match was not much of a surprise.
The only changes to Miguel Herrera’s lineup from the lineup that faced Mazatlan were the absences of Nicolas Diaz and Lucas Rodriguez, who were both sidelined with injuries. Rafael Fernandez and Fernando Madrigal replaced the injured pair, who were missed in this match.
Puebla had a very quick start to the match, scoring in the eighth minute via a shot from inside of the box by Kevin Velasco. Velasco was able to score from a privileged position thanks to a wonderful assist by Guillermo Martinez, who would go on to score the second goal of the match in the 37th minute. The Mexican striker scored off a shot inside of the penalty area after a perfect cross by former Xolo’ Brayan Angulo.
Club Tijuana had a few scoring chances in the first half of play, most notably a shot by Carlos Gonzalez that was stopped on the line by Puebla defender Gaston Silva. Puebla goalkeeper Jesus Rodriguez also had a solid day in net, although the border city team did not pose much of a threat with sloppy finishing.
Miguel Herrera tried to make an offensive change at the start of the second half by replacing Alejandro Martinez with Lucas Cavallini, but Tijuana’s offense was much less productive in the second half than in the first 45 minutes. Cavallini ended up on the scoreboard, but in an unfortunate manner, with an own goal in the 53rd minute. The Canadian striker found his own net after a free-kick by Diego de Buen and a series of deflections inside of the penalty area.
The game was finished before the final whistle, as the 3-0 scoreline marked the end of anything productive for the Xoloitzcuintles offensively. Puebla toyed with its opponent after the third goal, keeping possession of the sphere and just passing the ball around.
The second half was truly a sad display of soccer all around, but especially by a completely uninspired Miguel Herrera team. The final whistle blew to a dismal crowd and horrible weather in Puebla that was more than fitting for the display given by the Prehistoric Dogs on Friday night.
Club Tijuana extended its winless streak to five games and will have the pain of having to endure an international break before getting the opportunity to break this run of form.
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.