The Tijuana Xolos played their 13th game in the Liga MX 2018 Apertura on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, away from home at the Estadio Azteca against Club America. The Aztec Canines were winless in their two previous league games and were due for a very tough match against one of the best teams in Mexican soccer.
Diego Cocca surprisingly strayed away from his typical 4-4-2 formation and went with a 5-2-3 formation, but it did not really work out. Club America has one of the best midfield duos in the league with Mateus Uribe and Guido Rodriguez, and this formation left Tijuana’s midfield exposed and vulnerable.
Even with a five at the back formation, Cocca was not necessarily playing a conservative playing style, and this also came back to haunt the Border City Dogs. The Xolos could not compete against a team like Club America, and despite controlling possession, could not muster up enough clear opportunities to be effective.
Club America was efficient with their chances and struck first and fast as former Xolos’ defender Emanuel Aguilera scored off a free kick that left goalkeeper Gibran Lajud stunned in just the sixth minute of the match.
Andres Ibarguen then made it 2-0 for Las Aguilas before the end of the first half in the 45th minute, and that basically extinguished Club Tijuana’s hopes of coming away with a favorable result from the Azteca. The goal came off a cross from outside of the box that found Ibarguen in front of the Xolos’ net. The marking was woeful on the play by the entire Xolos’ backline, and Gibran Lajud’s positioning on the play was atrocious.
Finally, the finishing blow came in the 58th minute of the encounter by the 18-year-old midfielder, Diego Lainez, with a shot from outside of the box. The goal was great, but Gibran Lajud also played a role as his positioning was horrid again, which allowed Lainez to pull off the strike from so far out.
— Club América (@ClubAmerica_EN) October 21, 2018
The Xolos finished the game with 51-percent possession, 11 total shots, seven corner kicks, but absolutely nothing to show for it. Gibran Lajud had his worst performance of the season, along with the entire backline that was supposed to step it up with the five at the back formation. The midfield was nonexistent and the attack was uninspiring, with Erick Torres and Fabian Castillo proving to be highly ineffective.
One of the lone bright spots on the team was Eryc Castillo, but he still could not finish his major opportunities in the match. This result was on par with Xolos’ 3-0 loss to Monterrey away from home in Week 11 as the team continues to be disastrous in road games. The Aztec Canines are now in 12th place with 16 points and could fall further down the table with Sunday’s results in the Liga MX.
Xolos’ Starting Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Julian Velazquez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Gustavo Canto (45’ Miller Bolanos), Luis Fuentes, Diego Rodriguez, Diego Gonzalez, Eryc Castillo, Fabian Castillo (73’ Rubio Rubin), Erick Torres (57’ Luis Chavez)
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.