Game: L.A. Galaxy vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Tuesday Feb. 7
Time: 8:00 P.M. PST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
The Xolos will take a 130-plus mile journey to Carson, Calif. to face MLS side, L.A. Galaxy, at the Chargers’ new home, the StubHub Center, for a friendly match this Tuesday, Feb.7.
The matchup has been referred to as the “Clasico of the Californias” in recent years. The teams have a brief history, playing each other on five separate occasions in the past. The match mainly serves as preparation for the L.A. Galaxy heading into its 2017 Major League Soccer campaign. It also gives the Xolos an opportunity to use players who are not normally featured in the starting 11.
The teams have had close encounters, as they have split four wins between them and also played to a draw once. The latest encounter between the teams resulted in an uneventful 0-0 draw at the StubHub Center in 2016. The two teams faced each other in San Diego once, six years ago in 2011, at USD’s Torrero Stadium. The match ended 2-2, but the Xolos won the game in a penalty shoot-out. This is the closest thing to a professional soccer match between San Diego and Los Angeles, so it should be an interesting encounter.
The Xoloitzcuintles are, of course, coming off a tremendous 4-2 win over Club Leon away from home, and will look to keep their run of form going in this match, and on Friday against Club Necaxa. The canines now find themselves in first place in the Liga MX 2017 Clausura tournament with 12 points in the competition. It is unclear what approach Miguel Herrera will take towards this match. Will he will use it as full preparation for the Xolos week 6 Liga MX match against Club Necaxa at the Estadio Caliente? Or will ‘El Piojo’ use it to utilize members of the team who do not usually feature in the starting 11. This match will still be interesting to see. Newly signed players, Jorge Ortiz and Matias Pisano, could be debuting for Club Tijuana in this match as well, which could be fun to see.
The L.A. Galaxy are currently in a transition stage, as long-time head coach Bruce Arena is now with the United States Men’s National Team. The new head coach for the Los Angeles team is Curt Onalfo, who has been with the Galaxy since 2011, as an assistant coach and as a coach for youth teams within the organization. One of the Galaxy’s main players, Giovani Dos Santos, will not be present in this game, as he was called up to play with the Mexican National Soccer Team. The team who plays in Pasadena will still feature players like Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme, Jermaine Jones, Sebastian Lletget, and Emmanuel Boateng to carry the team forward in this encounter.
Players to Watch
The Argentine Duo
This match should be very interesting as Xolos’ new signings, Jorge Ortiz and Matias Pisano, could be making their debuts for the club in this encounter. It was recently said that the Argentine players are adapting well with Club Tijuana. This is a great opportunity for Miguel Herrera to try out Ortiz and Pisano in a competitive match for the first time. Ortiz, 32, is a strong holding midfield player who can control the midfield, comparable to the work that Juan Carlos Medina does for Miguel Herrera. Pisano is a much younger player at 25 years old, and is a great option moving forward, comparable to Victor Malcorra in the Xolos’ attack.
The American Duo
There are other Americans that do play for the border-city team other than Joe Corona and Paul Arriola. Specifically, New Jersey-born Amando Moreno and Southern-California native, John Requejo. Both have featured in Copa MX play this season and will be good options for the match. Both were unfortunately red-carded in the latest Copa MX match against Correcaminos UAT last week. The fact that they will not be available for the next Copa MX match is a good indicator that they should be starting in this match at the StubHub Center.
Requejo, 20, is a native of the Santa Barbara county and plays mainly as a wing-back for Miguel Herrera. Requejo is still very young and has looked decent in Copa MX play. He is solid in defense and going forward as well. Moreno, 21, is a native of New Jersey and has had a limited amount of play since joining Club Tijuana in 2014. Moreno did not look impressive at all in his latest match, picking up two yellow cards in a limited amount of play coming off the bench against Correcaminos UAT in Copa MX play. Moreno does have potential, however, as he has already played for the U 18 and U 20 United States Men’s National teams in his short career. It will be interesting to see if the American forward does feature in this match at the StubHub Center.
The match at the Chargers’ new home is quite ironic, as the team that many San Diegans are starting to adopt (The Xolos) will face a Los Angeles team at the now infamous StubHub Center. As of now, this is the closest thing to a professional soccer match between a San Diego and a Los Angeles team. The match should be an enticing duel with perhaps some debuts from new players to the roster. Younger players might also get a chance to play in this match. Fuerza Tijuas!