Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Pachuca
When: Friday, Aug. 25, 2017
Where: Estadio Caliente
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
This Friday, Aug.25, the Tijuana Xolos will host Pachuca at the Estadio Caliente for a game in the seventh round of matches in the Liga MX Apertura 2017. The game will kick off the seventh Jornada in the Apertura 2017 and will be between two teams that are starting to find stability in the league.
The Tijuana Xolos are undefeated in their last three Liga MX games and have begun to turn things around in this era under Eduardo Coudet. Speculation was starting to build regarding Coudet’s job, but the Argentine seems to have job security for a good while in the border city. Club Tijuana has won its last two games, the real turning point of the season being the week 5 matchup against Santos Laguna at the Estadio Caliente. In this game, Eduardo Coudet switched to a 5-3-2 formation that has worked wonders for the Xolos ever since. The Xoloitzcuintles had a very impressive 2-0 win against Santos Laguna in that game and followed it up with a 3-1 win against Queretaro in week 6 this past Tuesday. In their last two games, the Aztec Canines have outscored their opponents 5-1 and the defense has looked impenetrable. Gibran Lajud has not had to be worked much in the last couple of games, but has managed a few decent saves as well.
The midfield has finally found some structure, with Damian Musto holding that defensive role and Ignacio Malcorra and Luis Chavez adding to the attack. Luis Angel Mendoza has been one of the more surprising players in this run as the Mexican midfielder has looked fantastic and has proven to be the ideal partner in attack with Gustavo Bou. Bou is currently on fire as the Argentine has scored three goals in Club Tijuana’s last three games. The border city side has achieved the results and has played very effectively, but the team’s peak has still not been reached, which is very promising. This will be a tremendous task against a very potent Pachuca side and another impressive performance by the Xolos will be a monumental victory for Eduardo Coudet.
Pachuca is one of two teams to have won all of its last three games in the Liga MX. The other team being Monterrey, who defeated Club Tijuana 3-0 at the Estadio Caliente in week 2. Los Tuzos had a very rough start to the Apertura 2017, losing their first three games, like the Tijuana Xolos. It has been all wins since then for Pachuca as Diego Alonso’s team has defeated Tigres UANL, Monarcas Morelia, and Veracruz in the last three rounds of play. The most recent result for Pachuca was a dominant 4-1 victory against Veracruz at home, but taking on the Xolos should be a much tougher task. Manager Diego Alonso counts with a very solid team, from the defense to the attack. The midfield core is arguably one of the best in the league with Mexican internationals Erick Gutierrez and Jorge Hernandez in the heart of it. The attack with players like Angelo Sagal, Edson Puch, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, and Keisuke Honda, has potential to be one of the best on the continent. The defense is also very rigid even though the goalkeeper, Oscar Perez, can prove to be an inconsistent player.
Los Tuzos have been plagued with significant injury problems lately, and that could affect the team in this game. American international Omar Gonzalez is just coming back from an injury, but should feature in this game after sitting on the bench in the game against Veracruz. In that game against Veracruz, Erick Gutierrez and Edson Puch suffered injuries and it is unclear if the pair will feature in this game. Gutierrez did travel with the team, but Diego Alonso may not risk playing his captain if he is not fully fit. Even with these injuries, Pachuca still has a very solid team and should prove to be a worthy adversary at the Estadio Caliente.
Players to Watch
Luis Angel Mendoza
“El Quick” scored his first goal of the season in Club Tijuana’s last game against Queretaro. The goal was not very impressive as it was just a deflection off a shot by Luis Chavez that found the back of the net. However, Mendoza has been very impressive in the last few games for the Xolos. The Mexican midfielder has a goal and an assist in the Liga MX so far. His vision and creativity in the attack have really helped the team going forward to create scoring opportunities. Of course, “El Quick” will need to continue this form because Juan Manuel Iturbe is now officially a Xolo and will challenge Mendoza for a starting role. That motivation to succeed and stand out should bring the best of Mendoza and make him one of the main players to watch in this game.
The Argentine is coming off one of his best games in a Xolos jersey ever. Perez scored a goal and gave a spectacular pass to Gustavo Bou that led to a goal in the Xolos’ 3-1 win against Queretaro. The new 5-3-2 formation has really given the 28-year-old offensive liberties, and he displayed his offensive potential in that last game against Queretaro. Perez has always been a very offensive fullback and it will be interesting to see what he can do in this game, and in the remainder of the season.
The 22-year-old is currently the hottest player in the Liga MX, with four goals in Pachuca’s last two games. The most impressive thing about this run is that Guzman plays as a midfielder, but is consistently finding the back of the net. The youngster has had a very nice career so far, but this could be his breakout season that propels him to attract interest from the Mexican national team. With his current form, all eyes will be on Guzman to see if he can continue to slot in the goals.
The Japanese international is arguably the most exciting player in the Liga MX at the moment. Honda was the most exciting transfer in the off-season in the Liga MX, and the 31-year-old just made his Liga MX debut this last Tuesday. The former AC Milan player played 33 minutes off the bench in Pachuca’s 4-1 victory against Veracruz and scored a goal, had two shots on goal, and completed 14 passes. The Asian midfielder has tremendous vision and a spectacular shot from long range that can prove to be very effective in this game.
This encounter should prove to be one of the best games in this seventh round of matches in the Liga MX Apertura 2017. Both teams are in amazing form, but are still in need of points after rocky starts to the season. It is very challenging to say who will come on top after the 90 minutes are up, and the prediction for the game is that no team comes out on top and the game ends in a 2-2 draw. The game should be very exciting as both teams have scored plenty of goals in the last couple of games, and this match should be filled with a few.