Game: Tijuana Xolos vs. Toluca
Where: Estadio Caliente, Tijuana, Mexico
When: Friday, Feb. 7, 2020
Time: 7:10 p.m. PST
TV: Fox Sports 2 (English), Fox 5 San Diego (English), Fox Deportes (Spanish)
The Tijuana Xolos have really fallen off since beginning the season with a 2-1 win against Santos Laguna. The Border City Dogs are coming off a 2-1 loss to Atlas away from home and are currently on a three-game winless streak with a draw and two losses in this span.
The Xoloitzcuintles have really struggled to score in this bad run of form with just one goal scored. The attack led by Miller Bolanos and Camilo Sanvezzo has not been responding as it may be time to add new signing Edwin Cardona to the starting lineup.
The defense has not necessarily been tremendous either with six goals allowed so far. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud has become a scapegoat for Xolos fans, with some fans even starting a campaign for him to leave the club. Left-back Aldo Cruz received a red card against Atlas and will not be available for this match as the defensive problems stem farther than just the goalkeeper.
The border city team does not look to be in good shape, but the Xolos have played well at home so far. Club Tijuana is a different team at home with a win and a draw, just one goal allowed in two games. This will be a golden opportunity for the Xoloitzcuintles to bounce back against a Toluca team that has also struggled.
Toluca is also on a three-game winless streak but has looked much better than Club Tijuana in this span. The Red Devils are coming off a 3-3 draw against Cruz Azul and have scored eight goals on the season so far.
While Toluca’s backline has been very questionable, the attack has not struggled to score, especially with Leonardo Fernandez leading it, who scored two goals against Cruz Azul last week. Toluca manager Jose Manuel de la Torre uses very pragmatic tactics, so it comes as a surprise that the team has done better offensively than defensively.
Players to Watch
Sanvezzo has scored two of Tijuana’s three goals this season but still needs to improve. Both goals scored by Sanvezzo were from the penalty spot as his finishing has been inconsistent so far. The Brazilian forward can benefit from the recent signing of Edwin Cardona, who is known to create scoring opportunities.
Fernandez has been one of the revelations in the Liga MX this year as he has shined with Los Diablos Rojos. In Toluca’s last game, Fernandez scored two goals and provided an assist as he helped his team get a point from Cruz Azul. The Uruguayan midfielder is a wizard as he is fantastic at creating scoring opportunities, but also has a rocket of a shot that is a menace to any goalkeeper.
East Village Times predicts a 2-1 win for Club Tijuana as the Xoloitzcuintles have played well at home and can beat a team like Toluca.
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.