Game: Monarcas Morelia vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Friday, Sept. 29, 2017
Where: Estadio Morelos, Michoacán, Morelia
Time: 5:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos will play their 11th game in the Liga MX Apertura 2017 this Friday when the Aztec Canines travel to Michoacán to face Monarcas Morelia. The game will be in the 12th round of matches in the league and is set to be a close encounter between two teams that aspire to make the playoffs in this competition.
Club Tijuana has quickly fallen out of place on the league table after a midweek loss against Tigres UANL in the 11th round of matches in the Apertura 2017. The result was not reflective of what was seen on the pitch as the border city side clearly deserved at least a point out of the game. The Xolos created several clear opportunities, but could not find the back of the net, something that has proven to be a problem lately. This problem was also seen for the Xolos against Club America, where the team clearly deserved a win, but countless wasted opportunities resulted in a 1-1 draw against Las Aguilas. The defense seems to be the only component of the team that is set in stone as Eduardo Coudet has several options in the midfield and attack. Enzo Kalinski filled in for Damian Musto in the game against Tigres UANL and was outstanding in distributing and recovering the ball. But “Chacho” has several other options like Joe Corona, Luis Chavez, and Alejandro Guido as well. Musto will surely start in this game, but it will not be surprising to see Enzo Kalinski play alongside his countryman in this game. In the attack, Coudet has countless options. Luis Angel Mendoza should clearly get consideration for the team, but seems doomed to spend the rest of the season on the bench. For this game, Gustavo Bou is the man who has to start, but it is unclear if the Argentine manager will select Miller Bolanos or Juan Iturbe, or both. If Kalinski or another midfielder does get a chance to start this game, only one of the two can start, and it seems like Bolanos has looked more impressive in his limited playing time than Iturbe. The Xolos are now in ninth place with 14 points after the 1-0 defeat at the Estadio Caliente. However, the Liga MX has always been a highly competitive league and the parity is as evident as ever as only three points separate the ninth-place Xolos from third-place Club America. The win from this game should propel Club Tijuana back into a playoff spot, but it will not be easy against a very tough team to beat at home.
Monarcas Morelia is currently in 10th place with 13 points and is fighting for a spot in La Liguilla after the regular season wraps up. The team from Michoacan had a very slow start to the Apertura, but picked it up with three wins, a draw, and a loss from its last five games. The latest result for Morelia was a 2-1 loss against Veracruz away from home, but will look to get back on track at the Xolos’ expense in this game. Peruvian Striker Raul Ruidiaz scored his seventh goal from Morelia’s last six games in that match, making him one of the most in-form strikers in the league. La Monarquia has a solid team from top to bottom, but overall talent-wise the Xolos do have the edge, especially in terms of depth as well. A key deciding factor in this game that may impede the Aztec Canines from coming away with the three points is Morelia’s home-field advantage. The fans always have a good turnout and the Estadio Morelos has become a bit of a fortress for Monarcas Morelia. La Monarquia only has one loss at home this season and has pulled off some very impressive results, like draws against Monterrey and Tigres UANL and a 2-0 win against Club America. To put it in perspective, the Xolos lost against both Monterrey and Tigres UANL and tied against Club America at the Estadio Caliente. This should be a very hard-fought match with no clear winner heading into it.
Players to Watch
Bou has fallen off a bit recently, unable to score in Club Tijuana’s last two games after scoring consecutively in five games. The Argentine striker has looked a bit sloppy in this scoring drought. In the game against Tigres UANL, Bou made several hopeless attempts from angles or distances that did not fall in his favor. At times, Bou also had opportunities to pass the sphere, but did not give it up and was dispossessed by the opposition. It is time for the 27-year-old to get back on track and start scoring goals for the border city side once again.
Ruidiaz has been one of the best strikers in Mexican soccer this year, with an impressive Clausura 2017 campaign and a potent start to this Apertura 2017. The Peruvian striker started off the season very slowly, but has now scored seven goals in Morelia’s last six games. Ruidiaz has speed but isn’t the quickest. He has a decent shot but not the best. He can dribble but not like Aviles Hurtado or someone of that caliber. But he does have a deadly finishing ability. If the South American can get the ball inside the penalty area, chances are that it will go in the back of the net.
This game should be a thrilling duel to kick off the week 12 action in the Liga MX Apertura 2017. Both teams are craving those three points from the game after midweek losses and with their playoff aspirations on the line. There is no clear winner as both teams could easily come away with the three points from the game and the prediction is a deadlock ending in a 1-1 scoreline with Gustavo Bou and Raul Ruidiaz as the goal scorers.
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.