Game: Necaxa vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Saturday, July 29, 2017
Where: Estadio Victoria, Aguascalientes, Mexico
Time: 7:00 PM P.S.T
TV: Univision, Univision Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos will play their second game of the Liga MX Apertura 2017 this Saturday, July 29 against Necaxa away from home. The game will be a solid test for Eduardo Coudet’s Xolos coming off a disappointing season opener against Cruz Azul at home. Necaxa is a promising side and the Estadio Victoria can prove to be a very complicated ground to play at.
The Tijuana Xolos started off their Apertura 2017 campaign with a 2-0 loss against Cruz Azul at the Estadio Caliente. The team had a plethora of issues in Eduardo Coudet’s first game in charge of the club and a big turnaround is needed in this game against Necaxa. Despite the score, the defense was one of the better components on the field for the border city side with players like Matias Aguirregaray and Damian Perez looking impressive in the game. The attack was non-existent along with the midfield which had an uncreative, lackluster display in the opening match of the new tournament. Other than a couple of chances created by Ignacio Malcorra, the midfield did not generate anything that the strikers could work with. It is unclear if Paul Arriola or Joe Corona will feature in this game but both the Americans will be available for this match. It has also been reported that Mauricio Cuero is doubtful for this game, which can give an opportunity for Luis Angel Mendoza or Matias Pisano to start in his place.
Cuero had a very underwhelming performance in the game against Cruz Azul anyways and it will be good to see another player get a chance to get that starting role. Gibran Lajud is set to be the starting goalkeeper for the encounter but another mediocre performance could put his job in jeopardy as he had a ridiculous mistake that allowed the first goal in the season opener against Cruz Azul. Eduardo Coudet must make a few adjustments and may even tweak with the formation as Club Tijuana played much better with the 4-3-3 formation rather than the 4-4-2 formation in the opening game of the tournament. This game will be a challenging task for Eduardo Coudet and will serve as a great parameter to see where the team is at coming off a disappointing loss.
Necaxa defeated the Xolos at the Estadio Caliente in the Clausura 2017 tournament, 2-1. But that Necaxa team is distinct from this one under new management with Ignacio Ambriz at the helm and 12 new players coming in this offseason. Los Rayos started out the Apertura 2017 competition with a convincing 2-0 win against Veracruz away from home. Jesus Isijara, who has been with the club for a decade and fresh signing Carlos Gonzalez provided the goals in that encounter for Ignacio Ambriz. Necaxa had much less possession against Veracruz with 43 percent but had a decent amount of scoring opportunities with five shots on goal. The goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero was also very influential in the game with four saves and should prove to be a key factor in this game.
These two things were trends in Necaxa’s victory over Club Tijuana in the Clausura 2017 as Los Rayos only had 40-percent possession in that 2-1 win and Barovero was a deciding player in that match as well. The team from Aguascalientes finished 12th in the Clausura 2017, missing out on the playoffs and the red and white side will be looking to get back into the playoff hunt this season. The Xolos have been a formidable team in recent campaigns and this would be a valuable test for Necaxa to see where the team stands in this Apertura 2017.
Players to Watch
The Argentine striker played in just 29 minutes off the bench in Xolos’ 2-0 defeat against Cruz Azul. In that limited time frame, Bou looked impressive and showcased his advanced qualities like his speed, vision, positioning ability and passing ability. Juan Martin Lucero and Henry Martin did not perform at all in the offense and looked stationary and limited in their roles. Bou provided a spark when he came in and looked distinct to Lucero or Martin. Eduardo Coudet should heavily consider starting the splash signing of the Xolos’ offseason in this upcoming game. At some point, the South American forward will need to be in the starting 11 and it more beneficial for him to start playing as a starter consistently as early as possible. Especially if he showed that he is ready to be a weekly starter for a Liga MX club.
The midfield clearly needed something or someone in the season opener against Cruz Azul. While that someone may clearly be Guido Rodriguez, Enzo Kalinski was nowhere to be seen last Friday night. The fresh signing was not in the starting 11 or on the bench and the 30-year-old could be the spark and creativeness that was needed for Eduardo Coudet in his midfield. Kalinski is a solid box-to-box midfielder with a decent physical presence and a decent shot on him as well. The former Chilean league player clearly needs a chance to be in the starting 11 as Eduardo Coudet figures out what his ideal starting XI would be.
The Argentine goalkeeper was a vital player for Necaxa in its last game against Veracruz and was the most crucial player in Necaxa’s 2-1 victory over Club Tijuana in the Clausura 2017. The 33-year-old made six outstanding saves in that game against the Xolos at the Estadio Caliente and the struggling offense may have a tough time to surpass Barovero in this game. Necaxa’s captain is an outstanding goalkeeper that can change the course of the game and break down the opponent’s motivation during a Liga MX game. The veteran will be one of the main players to look out for in this tournament and in this game on Saturday night.
This game is an important one for the Xolos as Necaxa is a rigid side but it is also a team that this Xolos’ team should be able to defeat. Club Tijuana also needs to pick up its first three points of the new season to get some motivation for the players and to for new skipper Eduardo Coudet. The prediction for the game is a slim 1-0 victory for Club Tijuana with a goal from the fesh signing Gustavo Bou. The game should be an exciting one in Aguascalientes and hopefully, the Xolos can look a lot better than they did in their season opener against Cruz Azul.