Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Pachuca
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
When: Friday, Nov. 10, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
The Tijuana Xolos will play their last regular season game of the Liga MX 2023 Apertura this Friday, Nov. 10, against Pachuca at the Estadio Caliente. Club Tijuana has had a campaign filled with highs and lows, all of the highs coming at home and most of the lows coming on the road.
Luckily for the Aztec Canines, this vital last regular season game is at the Estadio Caliente, where they are on a massive five-game winning streak. The Xoloitzcuintles are currently 10th in the Liga MX with 20 points due to a ruling by CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport). This game is a must-win clash for both teams at the Mictlan regardless of the point deduction, with the playoff race in the Liga MX being highly competitive.
There are 1o teams that make it into the Liga MX playoffs; the top six go directly to the quarterfinals, while the rest dispute a play-in system that decides the remaining two spots in the quarterfinal stage. It has been seven tournaments since the last time Club Tijuana made the Liga MX playoffs, as this game against Pachuca is extremely significant for the team and fan base for what is in play.
The Border City Dogs are coming off a 3-0 loss against Club America away from home in a game where Kevin Balanta received a red card. The Colombian center-back will not be available for this match, which is a big blow to Miguel Herrera’s team, with no consistent option to replace him.
The only saving grace for Club Tijuana is that Pachuca’s offense is not very consistent, failing to score more than a goal in seven of their last eight games. Los Tuzos are coming off a 2-0 loss against Monterrey at home, but they did win their last road match 2-0 against Atlas.
Pachuca has a very young squad; the last starting lineup they fielded having an average age of 26.1. There are several youth academy Pachuca players making their starting 11 on a consistent basis, like 20-year-old Miguel Rodriguez and 22-year-old Jesus Hernandez.
There are also some seasoned veterans on Los Tuzos squad, like Paraguayan midfielder Celso Ortiz and Argentine defender Gustavo Cabral. However, this squad has lacked experience throughout the season, and a late playoff push is possible but highly unlikely. Pachuca need the three points from this match to even think of a top-10 finish, currently in 13th place with 19 points.
This game has the potential to be a very hard-fought encounter at the Estadio Caliente with the motivation of either team making the Liga MX playoffs. Xolos are the favorites with the massive home-field advantage, but the Liga MX has always found a way to surprise us and ignore the favorites.
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.