Game: Queretaro vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017
Where: Estadio Corregidora, Queretaro, Mexico
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
TV: ESPN Deportes, Univision Deportes
Watch Live Online: Excelsior TV Youtube
The Tijuana Xolos finally achieved their first win in the Liga MX Apertura 2017 under Eduardo Coudet.
After five weeks of not knowing victory under the Argentine manager, Club Tijuana came to life and defeated Santos Laguna 2-0 at the Estadio Caliente. The team was very stale and lacked structure in the midfield throughout the first four matches, but there was a key change that helped the team get the favorable result last Friday night. “El Chacho” switched up his box standard 4-4-2 formation for a 5-3-2/5-3-1-1 formation and that made all the difference in the world.
The extra defender helped Los Xolos push higher up the pitch and really pressure Santos Laguna to create the “dynamic, intense, offensive” style of play that Eduardo Coudet had been seeking. The wing-backs, Matias Aguirregaray and Damian Perez, really helped create this style of play and were a crucial part of the attack. There was finally structure in the midfield, and the duo of Gustavo Bou and Luis Angel Mendoza was an odd pairing, but a very effective and clinical one. Coudet said after the match that he finally felt identified with his team, and that is a monumental sign of progress.
It is still not an ideal situation for the Xolos as the team is still sitting in 15th place with only four points out of a possible 15. However, this last game against Santos Laguna can be a major turning point in the season and help propel Club Tijuana to a successful season and a playoff run. Gustavo Bou is in tremendous form, having scored a goal in the last two matches, and Ignacio Malcorra has finally found his first goal of the season that may give him a major boost in confidence. The team has finally found stable structure, and it would be silly for Eduardo Coudet not to use the same starting 11 that won him his first three points. Maybe Joe Corona or Michael Orozco can find a slot on the bench, but other than that, there should not be many modifications.
Juan Martin Lucero is still suffering from an injury and it is unclear if he will be seen in this encounter. Juan Manuel Iturbe is also now officially with the team, but it would be very surprising to see him debut this week. Queretaro is a very unstable team and the Xolos should walk away with nothing but the three points from the game.
As mentioned before, Queretaro is a very inconsistent and unstable team. Los Gallos Blancos are currently in seventh place with eight points, but are not a team that is expected to make the top eight. The latest result for Queretaro was a 1-1 draw against Veracruz, that was very lucky, as Los Gallos scored a goal late on due to a crucial error by Veracruz’s goalkeeper. Before that, the blue and black team had a 2-1 win at home against Monarcas Morelia, but the win did come via two very late goals as well. The most impressive win for Jaime Lozano’s team came in week 3, where the team achieved a 1-1 draw away from home against arguably the best team in the league, Tigres UANL. Manager Jaime Lozano does count with a solid team with the likes of Tiago Volpi and Camilo Sanvezzo, but overall has a much weaker side than the Xolos. The home-field advantage at the Estadio Corregidora is also not very impressive and is nothing compared to what the Estadio Caliente offers.
Players to Watch
Luis Angel Mendoza
“El Quick” was quietly one of the better players on the pitch during the first 45 minutes of the game against Santos Laguna. The Mexican midfielder’s passing was stupendous and he played a huge role in the first goal of the game, giving the pass to Ignacio Malcorra who then found Gustavo Bou. Mendoza’s passing is his strongest suit and offers a very strong and aggressive mentality on the pitch that is needed for Coudet’s style of play to flourish. The 27-year-old deserves the start, and it will be interesting to see what he can create in this encounter against a fragile Queretaro back line.
Malcorra was easily the best player on the pitch last Friday night against Santos Laguna. The Argentine scored a spectacular goal and provided a key assist, making the top contributor of the night for Club Tijuana. The new five-at-the-back-formation allowed Malcorra to free roam between the midfield and attack and gave him the liberty to create more scoring opportunities. It is very exciting to see what Xolos’ number 10 will do in this game.
Queretaro counts with one of the best goalkeepers in the Liga MX, Tiago Volpi. The Brazilian was one of the best shot stoppers last season and is still one of the main components of Jaime Lozano’s team. Volpi currently has 18 saves, which is only behind Club Tijuana’s Gibran Lajud. If the Xolos cannot get the win at the Estadio Corregidora, Tiago Volpi will play a factor in it.
The ex-Xolo has had a rocky road since leaving the border city as he has not been able to reach the level of which he once was. Guemez had an uneventful career with Club America, where he was more characterized by his short temper than his playing ability. The Mexican midfielder seems to have found a stable starting role with Queretaro and has been one of the team’s best players so far. The Sinaloa native currently has one goal, 76 recovered balls, and a very impressive 84.2 percent pass accuracy. Guemez has been the focal point of the midfield for Jaime Lozano and it will be interesting to see what he can do against his former team.
Xolos cannot go back to the form they were before the victory against Santos Laguna. The team is just starting to find that fire and chemistry to succeed under the leadership of Eduardo Coudet. The Argentine manager also seems to have found his ideal starting 11, which is a key to success in weeks to come. This is a very winnable game against a weaker opponent in a venue that is not that complicated to play in. Everything is set for the border city side to get another three points and really start to get the ball rolling this season. The prediction for the match is a comfortable 2-0 win for the Xolos with Gustavo Bou keeping his current form and scoring both goals.