The Xolos de Tijuana played their fourth game of the 2021 Clausura tournament this past Saturday, January 30th, a high scoring outing in which they defeated then league leaders Club Toluca 3-2. The victory saw the Xolos rise from seventh to second place, a big improvement for the Tijuana side as we are seeing their best start to a tournament in the last few chances.
Saturday’s matchup vs. Toluca was predicted to be a low scoring matchup with a draw the most likely outcome, but a spark in Tijuana’s attack made it a high-scoring affair. Coming into this game, the Xolos only scored one goal, a penalty scored by Fidel Martinez against Puebla in their previous game. This game was much different as we saw three goals scored by Tijuana in the span of twelve minutes and resulted in a surprising but impressive 3-1 lead going into the half.
All three Xolos players who scored in this matchup are new arrivals to the club for this year’s Clausura tournament. Mauro Manotas opened up the scoring for the Xolos in the thirteenth minute, scoring off a deflection by the defense that saw Manotas with a wide-open look at goal. Manotas arrived this season from MLS side Houston Dynamo and was always a goal-scoring threat for the Dynamo during his five years at the club. Still, after some unimpressive performances in his first three games for Tijuana, it looks like Manotas finally found his rhythm.
Fidel Martinez headed in a goal in the twenty-first minute to make it 2-0 for the Xolos early in the game. Martinez was the star signing for the Xolos this off-season, seeing the Ecuadorian forward transfer from the Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua. Although Martinez is new to the team this tournament, Tijuana’s new number, ten, is no stranger to the Mexican side. Martinez was a crucial component in the club’s championship-winning side in the 2012 Apertura tournament and is also third all-time in Club Tijuana goals with 23. He is currently tied fourth for most goals so far this season with two and won the match in the club’s last two games.
Miguel Sansores scored the third Tijuana goal in the twenty-fourth minute, making it 3-0 into the 25th minute. Toluca went on to score two goals thanks to Alexis Canelo and Miguel Barbieri, who is currently on loan at Toluca from Tijuana, but it was not enough to stop the Border Dogs as they went on to win the match 3-2.
With this impressive attacking performance by the Xolos this past Saturday, we are finally seeing that aggressive style of football that we are used to seeing in a Pablo Guede managed side. This also shows how dangerous this team is when they are on form and playing at home at Estadio Caliente.
Tijuana looks to continue their impressive attacking form this week as they take on fifteenth place Atletico San Luis away this Thursday, Feb.4 at 6 P.M.