Tijuana Xolos Copa MX Playoffs Preview: Xolos Face Monarcas Morelia at Home in Quarterfinals

Credit: Liga MX

Game: Tijuana Xolos vs

When: Tuesday March 14

Time: 8:00 P.M. PST

Where: Estadio Caliente

TV: Univision Deportes

 

After week 10 of the Liga MX Clausura 2017 was postponed due to a strike by the referees, soccer is back in Mexico.

Tuesday will present two quarterfinal matches of the Copa MX competition, one of which will be between the Tijuana Xolos and Monarcas Morelia at the Estadio Caliente.

The Xolos

The Aztec Canines are coming from a huge victory in the Copa MX playoffs round of 16 against Club America. The game turned out to be a thriller, with an incident after the game by America’s Pablo Aguilar that played a part in the referees’ strike. Miguel Herrera presented a strong lineup for that match, using all regular Liga MX starters, besides 18-year-old defender, Carlos Vargas. San Diego native, Paul Arriola, scored the lone goal in the game, giving the Xolos the 1-0 victory at the Mictlan. Miguel Herrera is clearly looking for the title in the competition and should be able to get past his opposition in this match.

Monarcas Morelia

Morelia is a side that is in danger of relegating to the second division of Mexican soccer this season. Recently the Monarchs got a huge victory against Veracruz in the Liga MX which catapulted them out of last place in the relegation table. The Monarcas are now a point ahead of Veracruz on the relegation table and have done well in the Copa MX. ‘La Monarquia’ are coming from a win against Toluca in the round of 16. The game ended 2-2 in regulation time with Morelia getting its ticket to the next round of the playoffs via penalty kicks. Ironically this match also contained the other incident which caused the referees’ strike because of the actions of Toluca’s Enrique Triverio. Head coach Roberto Hernandez clearly does not give too much importance to the Copa MX and is rather worried about staying in the top division of Mexican soccer this season. This has been showcased by Hernandez alternating the lineups for Copa MX play, using no regular starters who play in the Liga MX.The Lineup Morelia has is still strong, with several veteran players like Carlos Adrian Morales and Juan Pablo Rodriguez who offer a wealth of knowledge on the pitch. Morelia is a dangerous side who passes the ball well, and with the recent strike, Roberto Hernandez might use key players like Andy Polo and Raul Ruidiaz because of the inactivity this past weekend.

Recent Matchups

Credit: Xolos

These two teams faced each other in the opening week of the Liga MX Clausura 2017. The game was played in Morelia at the Estadio Morelos to kick off the competition. Unfortunately, the home team did come out on top in that game, beating the Xolos by a score of 2-0. Veteran Carlos Adrian Morales scored a wonder goal for Morelia for the first goal, and top goalscorer, Raul Ruidiaz, made it 2-0 in the dying minutes of the game to seal the Monarcas’ victory. Despite what the score might say the Xolos were actually the better team in that game, getting more goalscoring opportunities. The problem was that the border city side could not finish any of the opportunities, the players still feeling that early pressure to replace Dayro Moreno. Gibran Lajud also had an amazing game in Morelia, even saving a penalty, impeding the score from being worse than it could have been. If the Xolos play like they did in that game with the confidence they have now, they will win this game.

Players to Watch

Guido Rodriguez

Rodriguez’s link up play and work in midfield in the last game against Club America was key for the Xolos’ victory. The Argentine was all over the pitch, recovering balls in defense and starting attacks giving masterful passes. Rodriguez did give the assist to Paul Arriola who scored the winning goal of the game for the Aztec Canines in the game. Guido Rodriguez is the engine that keeps the Xolos up and running, being critical in almost every game, and should be no different in this match.

Joe Corona

Corona is a player who has also been a dominant figure in midfield for the border city side this Clausura. The San Diego native has not received as much attention as Guido Rodriguez, but his work in midfield has been arguably just as important. Corona’s link up play all tournament has been impeccable, being the missing piece of the puzzle which connects the offensive drives together to result in goals for the Xoloitzcuintles. Corona will not be available on Friday against Santos Laguna due to a red card picked up in his last Liga MX game but should feature in this game and should be able to make an impact.

The Verdict

It should be a full house at the Estadio Caliente with the atmosphere of a playoff game in the border city. The Xolos are going into the game as the clear favorites because they have the better players and because of the home-field advantage. All these factors should prove to be key in this match, with ‘Piojo’ Herrera most likely going with his best players for this game. It will be interesting to see if Roberto Hernandez does the same, with the week of inactivity in the Liga MX. The game should be a good one at the Mictlan, the prediction being a comfortable 2-1 victory for the Xoloitzcuintles. The lone goal for Morelia coming from Raul Ruidiaz and Joe Corona, and Milton Caraglio providing the goals for the prehistoric dogs. Fuerza Tijuas!

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 20, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College, I have been a Padres fan all my life, huge soccer fan as well. I do not need the NFL in my life. In it for the passion not for the money.

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