Tijuana Xolos Liga MX CL 18 Week 10 Recap: Border City Dogs Win Canine Clash as Turf Plays a Role

Credit: Liga MX

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Credit: Liga MX

The Tijuana Xolos played their 10th game in the Liga MX Clausura 2018 on Friday when Club Tijuana hosted Lobos BUAP at the Estadio Caliente.

The Aztec Canines were the favorites to win the duel and came away with a comfortable 3-1 win against La Manada. Diego Cocca opted to go for the same starting XI that tied 1-1 against Honduran side Motagua in the CONCACAF Champions League last Tuesday.

The first half of the encounter was quite even and it was unclear if the Xolos would come away with a win after the 90 minutes. The Xoloitzcuintles did have a 1-0 lead at the half thanks to a goal in the 35th minute by Luis Angel Mendoza. The goal came off a long-range effort by Mendoza, but Lobos’ keeper Jorge Villalpando could have arguably done more to impede the ball from finding the back of the net after a bounce.

The second half was a completely different story as Lobos BUAP fell apart and Club Tijuana took full advantage of this. A handball by Luis Advincula in the 62nd minute gave the Xolos a penalty that Miller Bolanos managed to put away.

The game was done and dusted in the 71st minute as Jose Alberto Garcia took advantage of some atrocious defending by Lobos BUAP to make it a 3-0 win.

One of Lobos’ defenders flopped on the pitch and goalkeeper Jorge Villalpando was horribly positioned as Garcia chipped the ball over him. Diego Cocca controlled the game after that goal as the team from Puebla managed to score a consolation goal towards the end of the match. Colombian striker Julian Quinones put one away to make it a 3-1 game in the 84th minute. The win was an important one as it was a match that Xolos were expected to win, and they did dominate the encounter.

The Border City Dogs are now in third place with 16 points, but there is still a full weekend of games in the Liga MX. Diego Cocca’s side is on the rise as it will have a busy week ahead, facing the New York Red Bulls in the CCL this Tuesday, and then will travel to Nuevo Leon to play Tigres UANL next Saturday.

Xolos’ Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damian Perez, Damian Musto, Mateus Goncalves (57’ Rubio Rubin), Ignacio Rivero, Luis Angel Mendoza (76’ Ignacio Malcorra), Miller Bolanos (73’ Alejandro Guido), Alberto Garcia

Diego Cocca used the same lineup that was used against Motagua in the CCL last Tuesday. The team generated a lot of scoring opportunities in that match against Motagua and worked very well in this game as well. The midfield was very solid with Damian Musto and Ignacio Rivero, and the attack was exciting and promising with speedy players like Miller Bolanos and Mateus Goncalves and a pure striker like Alberto Garcia. Ignacio Malcorra appeared in his first game since recovering from an injury, and it will be interesting to see how Diego Cocca adjusts his starting XI as key players return.

Main Talking Point: Home-Field Advantage

The home-field advantage can make a difference for Club Tijuana in a lot of games at the Estadio Caliente with the synthetic turf and the vibrant and noisy home crowd. The turf, specifically, made a key difference in this encounter, as at one point it did seem like the game could go either way. The ball made a bounce on the dry, synthetic pitch on the first goal, that caught Lobos’ goalkeeper off guard. In the third goal, Francisco Rodriguez flopped on the pitch as the pitch clearly played a role in this goal as well. The Xolos were the more dominant team, but the home-field advantage clearly played its role in the result, especially considering what could have happened if the Border City Dogs had not scored that first goal.

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