Game: Veracruz vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Sunday, April 1, 2018
Where: Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente, Veracruz, Mexico
Time: 4:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
This Easter Sunday the Tijuana Xolos will not be on the hunt for plastic eggs filled with treats and prizes, but will rather be seeking three points out of their Clausura 2018 Week 13 clash against Veracruz.
The Border City Dogs only have a win in their last four league games and should be desperate to pick up three points in the port city. The latest result for Diego Cocca’s men was a disappointing 1-1 draw against Monarcas Morelia at the Estadio Caliente in league play. The Xoloitzcuintles did stay active during the international break with a friendly match against Club America at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. Club Tijuana has proven to be dysfunctional away from the Mictlan making that result against Morelia that much more worrying. The Aztec Canines are yet to win away from home and have not even scored a goal away from the Estadio Caliente. Diego Cocca’s tactics in away games do factor into this poor form on the road as the Argentine opts to sit back and be very passive away from the Mictlan.
Cocca will have some key players back from injuries like Juan Carlos Valenzuela and Gustavo Bou and the South American boss should definitely consider switching up his playing style on the road. Especially considering Gustavo Bou will be back in the attack and that Damian Musto will not be available for this clash. The Argentinian midfielder picked up a red card in Tijuana’s last game against Monarcas Morelia and will not be present in this match. His absence could be very significant as Diego Cocca does not have another true defensive midfield option on his roster. The two players that could be seen in that role include a pair of Chula Vista natives in Alejandro Guido and Fernando David Arce. Alejandro Guido talked to EVT ahead of this match and said he was prepared to play in that defensive role in this encounter. Guido said, “I’m very confident, ready for it, hopefully, I get the opportunity and if I do I will try my best”. The American midfielder, or whoever gets the chance to replace Musto will have a huge responsibility especially against a team like Veracruz.
Veracruz is near the bottom of the Clausura 2018 table currently in 16th place with 12 points and is also in the fight to evade relegation.
Los Tiburones are currently the favorites to relegate and will need a lot of luck to not drop down into the Ascenso MX. The team is led by the experienced Guillermo Vazquez, that has a track record of coaching successful teams like Pumas UNAM and Cruz Azul. Los Jarochos are coming off a dominant 3-1 win against Atlas at home and have had some impressive results this season at the Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente. This includes 1-1 draws against teams that seem like locks for the playoffs in Santos Laguna and Club America. The Luis “Pirata” Fuente can be a very tough venue to visit with its intimate atmosphere and the humidity in the port city of Veracruz.
The 28,703 capacity stadium will be sold out as the tickets to this match were given away for free to ensure the support to the struggling franchise. Guillermo Vazquez’ side is talented and especially carries some very physical players like Guido Milan, Jose Rivas and Wilder Cartagena. There is also some skillful and flashy players on Los Escualos like Daniel Villalva and Adrian Luna, who are two very similar players with their speed and flair. Guillermo Vazquez will often opt for a lone striker with a dominant physical presence like Miguel Angel Murillo or Cristian Menendez. Veracruz can be a very tough team to break down especially at the Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente and this could be a much tougher match than expected in the port city. “Memo” Vazquez will surely try to use the physical advantage of his team to frustrate the Aztec Canines in this encounter.
Players to Watch
The Uruguayan midfielder scored a goal and obtained an assist in Veracruz’s last game against Atlas and should be motivated for another impressive showing in front of the home crowd. Luna is not tall or physical by any stretch of the word at just 5-foot-7 but is very skillful on the ball and quick, which could cause some major problems to the Xolos’ backline.
“La Pantera” is set to make his return after missing the Xolos’ last four games due to an injury. Bou was easily Club Tijuana’s best player last season and could be a very impactful player for the Border City Dogs in this final stretch of the Clausura 2018. Diego Cocca’s offense has been dismal on the road and Gustavo Bou can be that catalyst that generates something going forward for Los Rojinegros.
The Xolos’ team have been a much different team on the road as opposed to the Estadio Caliente and that will be hard to change even against a struggling team like Veracruz. Given all the factors, EVT predicts a 0-0 tie between the two teams in the port city. It will not be an ideal result for Club Tijuana as the team looks to make a playoff push with just five games remaining in the Clausura 2018.