Game: Chivas de Guadalajara vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Saturday Jan. 21
Time: 7:06 P.M. PST
Where: Estadio Chivas
TV: Univision Deportes
The Xolos have yet to face a true task this season. In the Liga MX, they have faced, arguably, two of the worst sides in the competition in Monarcas Morelia and Puebla F.C. In their Copa MX debut last Tuesday, Tijuana fell 1-0, to second division side, Sonora. Now in week 3 the Aztec Dogs are facing a very tough opponent in Chivas de Guadalajara. This match will serve as a task in deciding whether Tijuana are true contenders this season, or just a team that cannot live without Dayro Moreno. Tijuana showed last week that Dayro was not needed, when they put six goals past Puebla F.C. at the Estadio Caliente. The border-city team has showed in the past that they are a completely different team at home than away. This will be a tough game in which nothing is guaranteed.
Chivas de Guadalajara
Guadalajara is one of the biggest and most successful clubs in Mexico. After a few down years, they are looking to get back on top with Argentine manager, Matias Almeyda. So far, ‘los rojibalncos’ have secured four points in the Liga MX and have faced tough opponents in Pumas UNAM and Monterrey. In last week’s encounter with Monterrey, Chivas manged to come away with a 2-2 draw, despite having two fewer players because of suspensions during the match. This week Matias Almeyda will be without midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez and captain Jair Pereira due to red cards in week two. Pereira is a big loss for Guadalajara as they do not have defenders of his caliber to replace him for this match. Chivas has not looked to be true contenders this season. Yet this match will serve as a big test to see if Matias Almeyda can bring a title this season to Tijuana.
Tijuana have dominated Guadalajara in recent matchups as the canines have not been defeated by the goats in the last five matchups. This would include last tournaments’ 4-0 victory at the Estadio Caliente for the Xolos. Dayro Moreno was a key figure in that game, but Aviles Hurtado did contribute with an assist and Martin Caraglio also scored a goal via a penalty.
Players to Watch
The Argentine midfielder was the best player for the Xolos in last week’s encounter against Puebla F.C. Malcorra scored a beautiful free kick goal and contributed in nearly all of Tijuana’s key scoring opportunities. Victor Ignacio also played in the mid-week loss to Sonora, coming off the bench. The midfielder was creative in finding opportunities, but the strikers could not capitalize in front of goal. If the Xolos do score, expect Victor Malcorra to contribute to the score line.
The San Diego native was one of the key players in week two’s 6-2 demolition over Puebla F.C. Arriola scored one of the best goals the Liga MX has seen in this tournament, and was also really solid defensively. The American midfielder covered for many of Michael Orozco’s defensive miscues on the right side of the pitch. The Mater-Dei Alumni was also impeccable with his passes, earning an assist in the game. Like Malcorra, Arriola should be able to contribute to the scoring against Guadalajara.
The 22-year-old was Guadalajara’s top off-season signing as they paid $15 million dollars to Club Pachuca for the young midfielder. While he is gifted, many have questioned whether Pizarro is worth that much. So far, Rodolfo seems to be comfortable with the club and has already contributed with a goal early in the competition. Last week against Monterrey, Pizarro scored a wonderful out of the box goal for the Chivas. Tijuana’s defenders will have to mark Pizarro carefully so he will not find open space and take an unexpected shot from long range.
This game is must-watch for any soccer fan. These two teams always seem to put on great displays, and the three points are critical for both teams in this game. The match will be hard-fought and full of action. While history does indicate that the Xolos will not fall, a win is still not guaranteed for Miguel Herrera’s men. A draw seems to be the most probable result for this match, but expect some goals in this intense matchup.