One of the more vital signings this off-season for Eduardo Coudet and the Tijuana Xolos was the addition of Damian Musto.
The 30-year-old is set to be the replacement for one of the most important players on Tijuana last season, Guido Rodriguez. Rodriguez, of course, left the border city to join Club America in Mexico City along with defender, Carlos Vargas and manager, Miguel Herrera. The Xolos’ new manager, Eduardo Coudet, may have found the ideal replacement for Rodriguez in Damian Musto.
Musto officially joined Club Tijuana on July 4 over from Argentine side, Rosario Central.
Eduardo Coudet managed Rosario Central from 2015-2016 and knows Musto very well. The Argentine midfielder was one of the more important players on Rosario Central and could fill the evident gap that was left by Guido Rodriguez. A huge concern is Musto’s age and how he will adapt to the Liga MX coming over from Argentina.
Last season, Miguel Herrera decided to bring over Jorge Ortiz from Argentina and it did not work out for the 33-year-old. Ortiz came over from Independiente in Argentina on loan and only played in 145 minutes during the Clausura 2017 tournament. Ortiz was meant to play a similar role to Guido Rodriguez, but failed and made several blunders during his few minutes on the pitch. One of the more noticeable games where Ortiz’s performance made a negative impact was when the Xolos blew a 3-0 lead against Pumas UNAM in week 7 of the Clausura 2017. Ortiz came on as a substitute, replacing Joe Corona after the score was 3-1 and was practically invisible in the midfield, leaving huge gaps that helped Pumas UNAM tie the score 3-3 in just 10 minutes.
Musto is a bit younger than Ortiz at 30 years old, but is the same height at 5-foot-11. He has far superior defensive capabilities that suit that gap left by Guido Rodriguez, but if he cannot adapt to the Liga MX, Musto can turn out to just be like Jorge Ortiz.
Age can turn out to be a vital factor. Guido Rodriguez was just 21 years old when he arrived in Mexico, which may have helped him adapt quickly to the Liga MX.
Musto, nine years older, may struggle in his first few games to fill that key role. Another concern is if the veteran midfielder will be able to provide a similar role offensively as Guido Rodriguez. Musto’s passing ability must be on point to provide a similar level of build-up play that Rodriguez offered in the midfield. Eduardo Coudet has looked confident in his signings and Musto may turn out to be the key to success for the border city side in this upcoming season, or could also turn out to be the downfall of the team.
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.