Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Tigres UANL
When: Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
TV: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports Prime Ticket
The Tijuana Xolos will play their first home game of the Liga MX 2019 Clausura tournament this Saturday, Jan. 12, as the Border City Dogs host Tigres UANL at the Estadio Caliente.
A new era has begun in the border city with head coach Oscar Pareja, who had a disappointing start to his Liga MX career with a 2-0 loss to Chivas de Guadalajara in the season-opener. Pareja and Xolos will now look to turn things around at home as Club Tijuana looks for its first points in the new season.
Pareja will also look to revive Tijuana’s dormant offense that failed to produce much of anything against Chivas in Week 1. The defense did look solid for parts of the game against Guadalajara and the centre-back partnership of Julian Velazquez and Diego Braghieri is promising. Juan Martin Lucero struggled heavily in the season-opener and it will be interesting to see if Pareja trusts him or tries alternatives in the strike force. During a midweek press conference, the Colombian manager did say that he has been trying out alternatives in his squad and he also expressed the importance of winning at home and scoring goals.
Club Tijuana will have no easy task in its home-opener as Tigres UANL is widely considered one of the best teams in the league. The team from Nuevo Leon finished sixth last season and started off the 2019 Clausura with a 2-2 draw against Leon away from home.
However, Tigres was lucky to come away with the draw as a late penalty scored by star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac made the difference. Javier Aquino also scored a goal in that game for Los Felinos but will be unavailable for this match as he picked up an injury. Tigres is led by one of the most experienced managers in Mexico in Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti, who has been at the club in this current stint since 2010. Tigres has six league titles and four have come with “Tuca” as manager, the most recent coming in the 2017 Apertura season.
Los Regios have one of the most talented rosters in the country and have only suffered one loss against the Xolos in Tijuana, which came back in 2012.
Players to Watch
The French striker was the top scorer in the Liga MX last season with 14 goals and already scored in Tigres’ first game of 2019. Those 14 goals were more than what Club Tijuana scored collectively as a team as the Xoloitzcuintles only scored 13 goals as a team last season. Gignac has an incredible finishing ability along with very good technical abilities and a very strong physical presence that make him an elite forward in Mexico.
Tigres has one of the most imposing offenses in the Liga MX with players like Andre-Pierre Gignac, Eduardo Vargas, Enner Valencia, and Luis Quinones. Gibran Lajud will surely be tested heavily on the night and will need to step it up for Club Tijuana to get a favorable result.
The Tijuana Xolos did not have anything going offensively in its first game of the season and its defense is not solid enough to contain a team like Tigres UANL. EVT predicts a 3-1 win for the visitors as it should prove to be a rough home-opener for the Aztec Canines.