Game: Tijuana Xolos vs. Santos Laguna
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
When: Friday, Jan. 10, 2020
Time: 7:10 P.M. PST
TV: Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos will start their Liga MX 2020 Clausura campaign this Friday, Jan. 10, as the Aztec Canines will host Santos Laguna at the Estadio Caliente. The Xoloitzcuintles narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season and will be looking to get back into the top eight with new Manager Gustavo Quinteros and a completely new squad.
The border city team let go of some key players like Ariel Nahuelpan, Leonel Miranda, and Washington Camacho and brought in players like Bryan Angulo, Christian Rivera, and Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez. Overall the team did not get upgraded and arguably is worse than it was in the 2019 Apertura campaign.
There were already some major concerns heading into the new season as the team’s ownership Grupo Caliente bought Queretaro, a second Liga MX franchise. To make matters worse, Club Tijuana sent Ariel Nahuelpan and Julian Velazquez to Queretaro, who were both critical players with Xolos.
New Manager Gustavo Quinteros was barely officially presented on Thursday night. At the same time, some of the new signings are yet even to be registered and are not available to play on Friday night. There seems to be a severe lack order for the Xolositzcuintles heading into the season-opener, which is not inspiring.
However, the Xolos do have a good opportunity to start off the season with a win as the Prehistoric Dogs tend to play much better at home than on the road. The Xolos will not have an easy task in the slightest as they will host Santos Laguna, who finished first on the league table last season.
Los Guerreros were not very active in the transfer window as they let go of Jose Juan Vazquez and Javier Abella, who were both on the bench throughout the 2019 Apertura season. Santos did add Alan Cervantes and Josecarlos Van Rankin from Chivas in the window, but neither is expected to be very impactful players.
Santos Laguna has a very solid squad including players like Brian Lozano and Julio Furch, who scored nine goals each last season. Los Guerreros‘ backline is arguably the weakest component of the team and something that Club Tijuana can try and exploit in this game.
Players to Watch
Without Ariel Nahuelpan in the picture, Camilo Sanvezzo will now need to step up and take on a more significant role with the team. The Brazilian striker was a disappointment last season with just four goals scored, but he also started just ten league games as he now hopes to get more playing time.
Furch has been a very consistent Liga MX striker since he first came into the league with Veracruz back in 2015. The Argentine has scored 45 regular season league goals with Santos Laguna since joining the team in 2017 and is always a candidate to win the Liga MX scoring title.
EVT predicts a 2-1 win for Santos Laguna in this match in what can prove to be a very tough season-opener for the Xoloitzcuintles.
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.