Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Toronto FC
When: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Where: USD Torero Stadium, San Diego
Time: 6:30 P.M. PST
The Tijuana Xolos will play on the other side of the border this Wednesday as the Xolos face a team from north of the border, Toronto FC, at USD Torero Stadium.
The game should be an entertaining encounter as both teams gear up for the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League tournament that starts next month. The Xolos have been impeccable this season in the Liga MX, currently undefeated with eight points after four games in the Clausura 2018. Even more impressive is the fact that the Aztec Canines still have yet to concede a goal this season as Gibran Lajud and the back line have been flawless. The border city side is coming off an impressive 2-0 win against Puebla at the Estadio Caliente and will look to carry that form into this match and into the weekend when the team will face Santos Laguna.
Diego Cocca could use this game in a couple of different ways. One, to give minutes to players that do not normally start in Liga MX games, like Luis Angel Mendoza, Alejandro Guido, Mateus Goncalves, and Hiram Munoz. Or two, to use most of his consistent starters in preparation for the upcoming game against Santos Laguna and the CONCACAF Champions League. Gibran Lajud will be the only player that will not be available for the match as he will be in San Antonio representing the Mexico national team in a friendly against Bosnia. It will be intriguing to see how the Argentine manager sees the match, facing a very potent and talented Toronto FC side.
Toronto FC was by far the best MLS team in 2017 as they came away with the MLS Cup and finished the regular season with 69 points.
To put in perspective how great the Canadian team’s season was, the next best team in the regular season, New York City FC, finished with just 57 points. The Reds are led by former United States national team defender Greg Vanney, who has been in charge of the team since 2014. Vanney had an extensive playing career from 1995-2009 and received caps for the USMNT for about a decade. The American’s coaching career started in 2011 as the assistant coach of Chivas USA before taking charge of Toronto FC in 2014.
Toronto has a very well-built and well-balanced side, but there are four players that immediately stand out. United Stated internationals Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez, and Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco. It is unclear if all of these players will feature in this game, but it is likely with still two months to go until the MLS season starts. Giovinco is particularly a player to watch in this game as he has proven to arguably be the best player in MLS over the past few years.
The Xolos will have a home-field advantage of sorts as there should be several Xolos’ faithful from San Diego and Tijuana attending the match. The border city side will also not have to travel much as opposed to Toronto FC, who actually had to fly out to San Diego. The fact that the Liga MX season is also currently underway could play a role as well, which means that the Xoloitzcuintles should come away with the win at USD. The game should be very entertaining and offer the Xolos a high-caliber type of opponent that is on par with some decent Liga MX teams.
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.