Game: Correcaminos UAT vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Tuesday Feb. 21
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
Where: Estadio Marte Rodolfo Gomez Segura
TV: ESPN Deportes
The Copa Corona MX is dwindling down to its last few weeks of regular season play and moving on to the playoffs. The Xolos are in group one of the competition, with two second division sides in Correcaminos UAT and Sonora accompanying them. The Aztec Canines are currently in second place in the group, and will look to top the group with a victory in this game. A defeat in this game could prove to be disastrous, and perhaps end the Xolos Copa MX campaign.
Club Tijuana is coming off a tough 3-3 draw against Pumas UNAM in the Liga MX, at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario. The Xolos had a huge lead by the 65th minute of the game, being up 3-0. Shortly after, Miguel Herrera and his team lost control of the match, as the Pumas scored three goals by the 82nd minute to tie the game. While the game had a favorable result points-wise, it was tough for the team and for the fans to see the Xolos have a meltdown like that. Going into this match the players must be concentrated to impede that from happening again. The border-city side have been outstanding in the LIga MX, but have under-performed in the Copa MX. The big blow to ‘Piojo’s’ team in the campaign was a 1-0 defeat away from home against Cimarrones de Sonora in week 1 of the tournament. After that, in week 3, Tijuana got it together and achieved a comfortable 2-1 win over Correcaminos UAT at the Estadio Caliente. This is a match in which Miguel Herrera may use some starters as it is an important game going forward in the competition. Some starters which Herrera has used throughout the tournament include Paul Arriola, Joe Corona, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, and Aviles Hurtado. It will certainly be interesting to see what lineup and formation the Mexican skipper presents for this match.
Correcaminos UAT is not only a second division side, it is a struggling second division side, currently in 16th place in the Ascenso MX competition. The team from Tamaulipas has lost five of its last six games in league play, but could possibly be making a push towards the playoffs in the Copa MX competition. Jaime Ordiales’ team tops group 1 of the tournament with two wins over Sonora. First 3-2 at home in week 2, and then 1-0 away from home in week 4 of the competition. Beating Sonora is something that the Xolos failed to do in week 1 of the Copa MX, but the Correcaminos of course failed to defeat the Xoloitzcuintles at the Estadio Caliente in week 3 of the tournament. Some of the standouts on the team to look out for are veterans who have played in the Liga MX before. This would include Lucas Ayala and Vicente Matias Vuoso. Ayala played in the top division of Mexican soccer for a decade, while Vuoso was a solid striker in the league for 13 years. Other notables on the team are Roberto Saucedo, who scored against the Xolos in the previous match-up between the two teams. Defender, Nestor Olguin, is an interesting player as well as he has two goals in Copa MX play. Correcaminos UAT is a team led by an experienced coach, with an experienced core of players that can surprise this Tijuana Xolos team and make it an interesting encounter.
The Xolos,of course, beat Correcaminos UAT 2-1 at the Estadio Caliente in week 3 of the Copa Corona MX. The encounter was a game that Club Tijuana dominated, although it did turn out to be a very complicated match. While the Xolos clearly dominated the second division side, this was of course the game in which defender Yasser Corona suffered a horrific cervical injury. One thing to note is that the Correcaminos were utilizing the characteristic rough, high pressure style of the second division of Mexican soccer. This could also prove to impact the game on Tuesday night. Corona has been making positive strides to coming back to a soccer pitch since the injury, but it is still a long process. Before the encounter between these two teams on Tuesday night, it is likely to see some kind of support or tribute for Yasser Corona, which the Correcaminos and the Xolos have done in league play, in various ways.
Players to Watch
Jorge Ortiz and Matias Pisano
This is the perfect opportunity to start the Argentine duo in a match that actually means something. Pisano looked solid in his nine minutes of play against Club Necaxa in week 5 of the competition. The 5-foot-5 man provided a lot of energy and rhythm for the team in his limited amount of playing time. Pisano looks like he could make it into the starting 11 at some point this tournament, if he can gain the trust of Miguel Herrera. Jorge Ortiz made his debut with the club this Sunday, against Pumas UNAM. The veteran midfielder was a complete disappointment, and you could argue that he was the center of the meltdown the Xolos had. Joe Corona came off the pitch to make way for Ortiz in the 74th minute of the encounter, when the score was 3-1. ‘El Marciano’, in his 18 minutes of play, left a gap in the midfield and looked nonexistent in the match. This was, of course, Ortiz’s first Liga MX game, so you can cut him some slack. This is a great opportunity for the Argentine midfielder to show Miguel Herrera that he can be valuable to this organization. It is still very unclear what lineup ‘El Piojo’ will go with in this game. Hopefully, the Argentine duo do get a chance to shine in this match.
The Xolitzcuintles must win this game, not only to remain relevant in the Copa MX, but also because the Xolos are a far superior team to the Correcaminos. This match won’t be easy, as the Correcaminos showed Xolos at the Estadio Caliente, but Tijuana should be able to dominate the match. The prediction for the match is a comfortable 3-1 win for the Xolos with two goals from Juan Martin Lucero and one from Juan Carlos Nunez, and Vicente Matias Vuoso providing the lone goal for the home team. This match is important, and should be a hard-fought encounter, so make sure to tune in. Fuerza Tijuas!