Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Veracruz
When: Friday, Oct.13, 2017
Where: Estadio Caliente
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
This Friday, Oct.13, the Tijuana Xolos will play their 12th game in the Liga MX Apertura 2017. The border city side will host Veracruz in what should be a very contested, but winnable game for the Xolos. The match will be the last home game in October for Club Tijuana, so there should be an amazing turnout at the Estadio Caliente.
The Tijuana Xolos have not won in their last three games and are coming off two consecutive losses. The latest result for the Aztec Canines was a woeful 3-0 loss against Monarcas Morelia away from home. After the loss, Los Xolos are just two points out of the top eight, currently in ninth with 14 points. In that loss, no players shined as Emanuel Aguilera even came out of the match with a red card and will not be available for this match. That could play a crucial role in this game as Aguilera has been magnificent defensively and also provided great build-up play from the defense going forward.
It is still unclear what formation and what players Eduardo Coudet will use in his starting 11, but it is highly likely that Michael Orozco will take Aguilera’s spot in the lineup. Alejandro Donatti will have a huge responsibility in this game, really taking charge of that defense without Emanuel Aguilera. A key to success will be maintaining that 5-3-2 formation, but it will be interesting to see how “Chacho” Coudet decides to set his team. The Xolos have some really interesting attacking options like Gustavo Bou, Juan Manuel Iturbe, and Miller Bolanos, and it will be intriguing to see if the trio can play together in this game. The home-field advantage is a huge plus and the Xolos need to take full advantage of this before going on the road for three consecutive Liga MX games.
Veracruz has been a very interesting team in the Liga MX this season, currently in 13th place with 13 points. Los Tiburones Rojos are fighting to stay in the top-flight of Mexican soccer this season, currently last on the relegation table, fighting with teams like Atlas, Queretaro, Lobos BUAP, and Puebla. After week 9 of the competition, Veracruz switched its manager from Juan Antonio Luna to Jose Cardozo. “Pepe” had a very impressive debut as the new boss, with a 2-1 win at home against Monarcas Morelia, but then had a 2-0 defeat against Atlas away from home.
Los Escualos usually play a 4-4-2 formation under Cardozo, usually opting to try to frustrate their opponents and hit counterattacks with their speedy wingers. Veracruz has some very fast players down the wings, like Daniel Villalva and Adrian Luna, who can get down the flanks and deliver a cross in the box to the strikers. The main striker Jose Cardozo relies on is Cristian Menendez, who is a very tall, physical forward who can prove to be a huge aerial threat. Menendez is comparable in the air to players like Santos Laguna’s Julio Furch or former Xolos’ player Milton Caraglio, and will need to be marked precisely by the Xolos’ defense.
Player to Watch
Juan Manuel Iturbe
The Argentine-born Paraguayan winger has only started four games and played in five, but has really been a very disappointing player since his arrival from Italy. The former Roma player has missed three big chances in 275 minutes of play and needs to bag that first goal of the season. Iturbe is a really exciting player with plenty of speed, but needs to find his finishing ability and start getting some goals.
This is a must-win game for the Xolos before a three-game road trip where the points will certainly be harder to obtain. Veracruz is a decent side, but Club Tijuana should use that home-field advantage to get a comfortable win and reach 17 points on the season. The prediction for the game is a very comfortable 2-1 win for the Aztec Canines with the Xolos holding a 2-0 lead for most of the game and Veracruz sneaking in a goal towards the end of the match.
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.