On Sunday, the Tijuana Xolos played their last game of the Liga MX Apertura 2017 tournament.
The Aztec Canines finished off the competition with a lackluster performance, falling 3-1 against Toluca away from home.
When Week 17 started there was still a slim chance that the border city side could sneak into the playoffs. Before 5:00 P.M. PST on Saturday those playoff hopes had diminished, as both Atlas and Cruz Azul had obtained favorable results in their respective games. On paper, this game on Sunday was meaningless for Club Tijuana, but after all the problems surrounding the organization, it would have been nice to finish the Apertura with a positive result.
This was not the case as the Prehistoric Dogs had one of their worst showings in this Apertura 2017, with the defense being as shaky as ever and the midfield lacking any creativity going forward.
Diego Torres presented a very strong lineup that was virtually the same as in the game against Leon. The only changes were Alejandro Donatti getting playing time instead of Emanuel Aguilera and Juan Carlos Nunez getting the start instead of Matias Aguirregaray. Los Diablos Rojos already seemed like the much more dominant team after the first 45 minutes as Toluca ended the first half with a 2-0 lead. Both goals were scored by Colombian striker Fernando Uribe, who was left unmarked by the Xolos’ defense and given way to much space.
At one point, the Xolos’ back line seemed like one of Club Tijuana’s strongest components, but in recent weeks it has proven to be very unstable. Players like Juan Carlos Nunez and Juan Carlos Valenzuela have shown their age while Damian Perez, Alejandro Donatti, and Emanuel Aguilera have been severely inconsistent. Matias Aguirregaray has proven to be too much of a liability to get any playing time in a four-at-the-back system as well.
The second half was not any better as Jesus Mendez scored a goal from a potent free kick in the 54th minute of the match. By this time, all hope was lost for Diego Torres’ men, and for Torres himself, who was surely not coming back as Tijuana’s head coach in the Clausura 2018.
There were few salvageable performances by the Xolos’ players, one of the few being Gustavo Bou. The Argentine striker scored a compensation goal in the 58th minute that made the massacre that was seen on the field less than what it was. The game finished 3-1, and this was the second consecutive humiliating loss for the Xolos under the leadership of Diego Torres. The previous game was a horrid 4-0 loss against Pachuca in the quarterfinals of the Copa MX.
Some of the same aspects that the border city side had shown in that Copa MX game, the team showed in this game. None of those aspects were positives though, as as the Xolos’ defense was very sloppy, the midfield had no creativity, and the offense seemed to be missing a spark going forward. After trying a failed rebuilding phase under Eduardo Coudet in the Apertura 2017, it is now time for another project to start in Tijuana heading into 2018.