Tijuana Xolos: The recent emergence of Ariel Nahuelpan

Credit: Xolos

Credit: Xolos

The Tijuana Xolos are coming off a 3-2 away win against Atletico San Luis in Week 12 of the Liga MX 2019 Apertura. The standout player for Club Tijuana in that match proved to be Ariel Nahuelpan as he scored two goals that led the Aztec Canines to the three points.

The Argentine striker continued his good run of form as he has scored three goals in the Xolos’ last two league games. Nahuelpan had been having a quiet season before this run with just one goal in eight games.

The 31-year-old forward has proven to be an integral component of Tijuana’s offense in the past, and the team naturally performs better when he does. Nahuelpan’s playing style is much more than just goals as he provides a very valuable physical presence to the Xoloitzcuintles.

The South American striker stands in at 6-foot-2 and clearly goes hard on the bench press with impressive strength he shows in each game. The Xolos have had success with these type of players on the team as Club Tijuana finished first place in a couple of seasons with Milton Caraglio as the number nine.

The Liga MX can prove to be a very physically demanding league at times, and it is important to roster someone like Nahuelpan. Xolos’ manager Oscar Pareja has benched the Argentine at certain points in the season, but overall the border city team does perform better when he’s in the starting XI.

The fascinating aspect of Nahuelpan’s game is that he can be very technical as well and create works of magic with the ball at his feet. Obviously, that isn’t the most impressive component of Nahuelpan’s game, but it is present and can show up without even expecting it.

The 31-year-old attacker has already leveled his season total in goals for last season, and it seems like he will be able to surpass that by a significant margin in this 2019 Apertura. The Xoloitzcuintles have had offensive production by several different players this season, but Nahuelpan has the potential to be the most significant one by the end of the season.

Club Tijuana is just out of a playoff spot due to goal differential currently in 10th place with 17 points. The Xolos will host Atlas at the Estadio Caliente this Saturday in Week 13 of the 2019 Apertura in what is a very winnable game for Oscar Pareja’s team.

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Francisco Velasco
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.
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