Game: Tijuana Xolos vs. Cruz Azul
Where: Estadio Caliente
When: Friday, July 14, 2023
Time: 8:10 p.m. PST
TV: VIX, TUDN
The Tijuana Xolos are still looking for their first win of the 2023 Clausura season after losing to Pumas UNAM 3-2 in the opening week of the competition and drawing 1-1 against Necaxa last week.
It has not been a great start to the season for the Border City Dogs, but Lucas Cavallini and Eduardo Armenta will both be back for this match after playing with their respective national teams.
Cavallini now has heavy competition in the striker role, with Carlos Gonzalez scoring in his first two games with Club Tijuana. Both strikers are considered target men, but there is the possibility that Miguel Herrera will want to play them together. It will be intriguing to see how Herrera sets up his team with more options at his disposal, especially in the attack.
“Piojo” Herrera is still looking for his ideal lineup, as he has also mixed up the backline, starting Rafael Fernandez in Week 1, then starting youngster Alan Vega in Week 2. Reports have surged that striker Braian Romero could potentially be on his way out of the club, which would make sense with strikers Lucas Cavallini and Carlos Gonzalez already on the squad.
Club Tijuana has been struggling severely in the final moments of the games, conceding to both Pumas and Necaxa from the 89th minute and beyond that. Those inconsistencies in the final moments have cost the Xoloitzcuintles some valuable points that can be the difference between making or missing out on the playoffs when the season is over.
The Aztec Canines desperately need a win to get going, but Crzu Azul is by no means an easy opponent, especially with experienced manager Ricardo Ferretti at the helm. Los Celestes are dead last on the Liga MX table with no points, suffering 2-0 losses against Atlas and Toluca. However, the Mexico City team is expected to compete in the league this year with notable players like former Xolo’ Ignacio Rivero.
Cruz Azul are still missing some notable players from the Mexico national team in, Uriel Antuna and Carlos Rodriguez, which may be one of the factors to this slow start. Rafael Guerrero and Rodrigo Huescas just returned from the U-23 Mexico national team and have the potential to start this match after being benched last week.
Goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado will not be available for this match, having received a red card last week vs. Toluca. Andres Gudino will start in his place, which is not even a downgrade, depending on who you ask. Jose de Jesus Corona will be in net for Club Tijuana in what should be an emotional clash for the veteran shot-stopper against his former team.
The Tijuana Xolos need to take advantage of Cruz Azul’s uninspiring start to get back on track from their own bad start to this new season.
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.