The Tijuana Xolos played their seventh game in the Liga MX Clausura 2018 on Wednesday against Pachuca away from home.
The game turned out to be one of Club Tijuana’s most disappointing games of the season as the Border City Dogs fell 2-0 to Los Tuzos. Pachuca managed to score early and ride on that goal for the rest of the encounter. Angelo Sagal scored from a potent crossed shot inside of the penalty area that Gibran Lajud could not get to. The game was not impressive, and especially the first half lacked many exciting moments. The second half brought more of the same as the Xolos did not have even one clear scoring opportunity throughout the 90 minutes. Pachuca stayed dangerous throughout the game and really took advantage of the absence of Pablo Aguilar and Damian Musto for Xolos.
The home team struck again in the 88th minute as Erick Gutierrez scored off a shot by Erick Aguirre that was deflected by Gibran Lajud. The Mexican goalkeeper actually had a decent game as he did manage to save a few shots that would have made it a more embarrassing score. The Xolos now have two losses in their last two games and still only have just three goals this season. The team is in a worrying state now, in 12th place with just nine points, and will have another tough game this week, hosting Pumas UNAM at the Estadio Caliente this Saturday.
Starting Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Jesus Chavez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damian Perez, Ignacio Rivero, Ignacio Malcorra, Alejandro Guido, Luis Chavez, Gustavo Bou, Juan Martin Lucero
Diego Cocca opted for a 4-3-3 formation with Lucero as the main striker, Bou on the left wing, and Malcorra on the right wing. There really was not a defensive-minded midfielder with the absence of Damian Musto, which really affected the team. The front three was really ineffective as Bou and Malcorra did not shine in their roles and Lucero failed to make much of an impact. Pablo Aguilar’s presence was really missed in the backline as there was clearly order missing in the defense.
Man Of The Match: Erick Gutierrez
There was a cat that somehow got onto the pitch during the first half that stole the show, but the man of the match had to be Pachuca captain Erick Gutierrez. The Mexican midfielder provided the assist for Angelo Sagal’s goal, then also scored a goal of his own towards the end of the match. Gutierrez has been in immense form recently now with three goals in the Clausura 2018 as he looks to secure a spot on Mexico’s World Cup roster.
— Francisco Velasco (@FranciscoEfV) February 15, 2018
Main Talking Point: Xolos’ Struggling Offense
The defense has been crumbling in the Aztec Canines’ last two games, but still has only allowed four goals this season. The offense is what Diego Cocca really has to worry about as it has only scored three goals in the first seven games. The Xoloitzcuintles are already off to a historically bad start offensively, and that is getting worse as the tournament progresses. Cocca has some talented players on his squad, like Gustavo Bou and Ignacio Malcorra, but the team just does not seem to gel together to produce scoring opportunities. The 4-3-3 formation that the Argentine manager opted for in this match along with his pragmatic style of play does not help the cause either. The only solution at this point is to try out other players that have yet to receive significant playing time, like Julio Angulo, Luis Angel Mendoza, Mateus Goncalves, and Rubio Rubin, who has yet to debut. Miller Bolanos may also be a solution, but has yet to make much of an impact so far. It is impossible to win if you cannot score, and the Xolos and Cocca must find a way to turn things around and generate a spark going forward.
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.