Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Cimarrones de Sonora
When: Tuesday Feb. 28
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
Where: Estadio Caliente
TV: ESPN Deportes
The Copa Corona MX is winding down, as week 6 will be the last week of the group stage of the tournament. We head into the knockout stages or the playoffs.
Nearly all of the fixtures for the playoffs are undecided as many teams can sneak into the picture with the games coming up in this last week.
This will be the first home game in the Copa MX since week 3 of the tournament against Correcaminos, where Yasser Corona suffered that terrible cervical injury. Just like in that game, the Xolos used this game to benefit the less fortunate. Heading up to this game, the Xolos started up the #XUnaToneladaDeAyuda campaign again. Club Tijuana was trading one ticket for the game in exchange for a kilo of grains to help the less fortunate.
At first glance this game does not seem of much importance for the border-city side. Xolos are first in group 1 of the competition with six points, and a great defeat would be needed in this game to knock them out of that spot. A win or a tie, however, can allow the Xolos to get a higher seed in the playoff bracket, which, in theory, should pair Club Tijuana up with a weaker opponent in the playoffs. A favorable result from this game can go a long way going forward in the Copa MX.
The Xolos are coming from a big 2-0 win in the Liga MX at the Estadio Caliente against Monterrey. The fact that the Aztec Canines have not had to travel in the last few days can play to their advantage. Of course, home-field advantage is always a great thing for the Xolos, as showed by the game against Monterrey. The Xolos’ last fixture in the Copa MX was also a positive one, beating Correcaminos UAT 1-0 away from home. This is a game that the Xolos should have no problem winning, especially at the Estadio Caliente.
Cimarrones de Sonora
This is a must-win game for the second division side if they wish to continue in the competition. Sonora must win by at least two goals to continue on to the next round. It will not be an easy task, but the Cimarrones are in good form and did beat Club Tijuana the first time these two teams met.
Juan Carlos Chavez’s side hosted Miguel Herrera and the Xolos in week 1 of the competition and defeated them by a score of 1-0. The result was a shocking one especially because Miguel Herrera brought out a strong side representing the Xolos in that match.
Sonora has been a resurging side in the second division of Mexican soccer, winning six out of its last seven games in the Ascenso MX competition. The team from Hermosillo is now in third place with 18 points in the second division after 10 weeks of play.
Some interesting players to look out for on Sonora in this game will be Oscar Villa and Othoniel Arce, who have a combined 10 goals in the second division. Six have been scored by Villa, making him the top goalscorer in the league, while Arce has scored four. Sonora has an interesting team that can compete against the Xolos
Players to Watch
The San Diego native was absent from Miguel Herrera’s starting 11 in the Liga MX for the first time in 2017, in week 8 of the competition against Monterrey. The return of Michael Orozco, and Herrera’s decision to go with a 4-3-3 formation, kept Arriola out of the starting lineup. The success of the team with the formation may keep Paul Arriola out of the lineup in the Liga MX, and for future matches as well. For now the former Mater-Dei High School student may be a key starter in the Copa MX. Arriola has had a great Clausura 2017 so far with two goals and two assists in seven games as a starter. Arriola has been an exciting player in this tournament, rapidly progressing as the games go on. It will be interesting to see how the San Diego native does against the second division side.
The Mexican striker has been a consistent starter for Miguel Herrera in this competition, starting in all three of the games that Tijuana has played in the Copa MX. The 5-foot-7 man has shown that he can be a clinical striker, scoring two goals in the three games, making him one of the top goalscorers of the Copa MX campaign. Martin will almost certainly start in this game and it will be interesting to see how he can do in the match.
The Xolos do not necessarily need the three points from this game, but should still be able to get the win in the game. It will be interesting to see what formation and what players Miguel Herrera does utilize in the game. Sonora may be able to cause problems for Club Tijuana, like in week 1 of the Copa MX. But the Xolos are simply too good at home to let that happen again. The prediction for the game is a comfortable 2-1 win for the Xolos with a goals from Henry Martin and Matias Pisano for the Aztec Canines, with Othoniel Arce providing the goal for the away side. The game should be a decent encounter, and it will be interesting to see who the Xolos will play in the first round of the playoffs after week 6 of the competition wraps up. Fuerza Tijuas!