Tijuana Xolos Liga MX AP 17 Week 10 Preview: Xolos Start Three-Game Road Stand in Puebla vs Lobos BUAP

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Credit: Liga MX

Game: Lobos BUAP vs Tijuana Xolos

When: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017

Where: Estadio Universitario BUAP, Puebla, Mexico

Time: 5:00 P.M. PST

TV: Univision Deportes


This Tuesday, Oct.17, the Tijuana Xolos will embark on a three-game Liga MX road trip before returning to the Estadio Caliente on Nov.3.

This run of games away from home also includes a Copa MX game against Monarcas Morelia, making for a total of four games in all competitions away from home. Club Tijuana is currently in dreadful form, not having won in four consecutive games, only scoring a goal in this span. The Aztec Canines have not scored in three consecutive games, recently coming off a disappointing scoreless draw against Veracruz at the Estadio Caliente. That last draw against Los Tiburones Rojos really demonstrated the offensive struggles that Los Xoloitzcuintles have dealt with throughout the season. At one point in that encounter, Luis Angel Mendoza, Miller Bolanos, Gustavo Bou, and Juan Manuel Iturbe were all on the pitch, and still could not generate a goal.

A huge reason why the Xolos struggled in that game against Veracruz was the formation Eduardo Coudet opted for. “Chacho” went with a 4-4-2 formation that really limited certain player’s roles on the field, like Ignacio Malcorra, Joe Corona, and Luis Angel Mendoza. The formation was unable to get the most of this Xolos team, and many players were playing out of position towards the end of the match. Coudet did mention after the scoreless draw against Veracruz that the switch to the 4-4-2 was a tactical one because Veracruz is a team that typically plays with one striker. A big blow for the border city team will be midfielder Damian Musto, who will miss this game because of an excessive amount of yellow cards throughout the tournament. The midfield should struggle without his defensive coverage that can really help the team stop the opposition in its tracks. The game is a very winnable one coming up against a fairly weak Lobos BUAP team, but it could prove to be a tough game because of Musto’s absence and because it is away from home.

Lobos BUAP is the newest team in the Liga MX, just recently achieving promotion to the top-tier Mexican soccer league this season. The team plays at a university in Puebla and does not have a particularly strong fan base, averaging one of the lowest attendances in the league. The team has struggled financially since being promoted to the Liga MX, even asking for money from fans and just recently reaching a television deal to broadcast its games.

Soccer-wise, Lobos has been surpassing expectations, currently in 11th place with 14 points. This is just a point behind the Xolos, and the team will be motivated to get the three points from the game as it still has a chance to reach the playoffs. Los Lobos are coming off two consecutive losses, a 3-1 away loss against Toluca and a 3-0 loss against Leon at home. The game will be a clash between two of the youngest managers in the league with Eduardo Coudet (43) and Rafael Puente Jr. (38). Puente has a very intriguing track record as he started his career as an actor, then became a journalist, who even worked for ESPN, then dove into doing front office work before settling on being a manager. The young boss utilizes a very aggressive, hard-pressing style, strikingly similar to Eduardo Coudet’s style of play. Puente has actually used the 5-3-2 formation for most of the season and utilizes a similar tactic as Coudet, with high-pressing wing-backs. Lobos BUAP is a very interesting team with some experience and talent on its roster that can prove to be a problem for Club Tijuana in this game.

Xolos Starting XI

The starting lineup for the Xolos has been leaked and there are a few adjustments within Coudet’s starting XI. The Argentine manager will revert back to the 5-3-2 formation, which has seen success this season. Gibran Lajud will play in goal with Juan Carlos Nunez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Alejandro Donatti, Emanuel Aguilera, and Damian Perez making up the defense. The midfield trio will consist of Luis Chavez, Alejandro Guido, and Ignacio Malcorra. Finally, the top two will feature the Ecuadorian Miller Bolanos and the Argentine Gustavo Bou. The inclusion of Juan Carlos Nunez instead of Matias Aguirregaray for a second consecutive game, even with this 5-3-2 formation, is interesting. Other intriguing inclusions are Luis Chavez, who has not started a game since week 7 of the competition, and Alejandro Guido, who only started the first game of the season against Cruz Azul. The midfield is worrying as there is no defensive option in it, and that could play a huge factor in the game.

Players to Watch

Ignacio Malcorra

The Argentine midfielder will have a huge responsibility in this game with the inexperienced pair of Luis Chavez and Alejandro Guido along with him. Malcorra usually is given liberty in his role, and recently has even played as a defensive midfielder, which he might need to do at some point in this game with two very offensive midfielders accompanying him. The 30-year-old has covered the most ground in the Liga MX this season with 122.48 kilometers covered, and will surely need to put in a shift up and down the pitch in this game.

Julian Quinones

Quinones has easily been Lobos’ best player in this Apertura 2017 season with six goals from eight games. The 20-year-old striker is on loan from Tigres UANL and is making his mark on the club and becoming a prominent goalscorer in the league. The Colombian has plenty of speed and has proved to possess a deadly finishing ability that can be lethal against any team.

The Verdict

These two teams actually have a lot of history facing each other in Mexico’s second-tier league. Xolos’ first goal ever actually came against Lobos BUAP back in 2007, and both have even played playoff games in the Ascenso MX against each other. On paper, this game does not seem too exciting, but considering both teams’ upbeat style of play, it can prove to be one of the best matchups in this round of matches in the Liga MX. The prediction is an exciting 3-2 win for the Tijuana Xolos to get three points to start off this vital road trip.

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