Tijuana Xolos Liga MX AP 17 Week 11 Preview: Xolos Host the Best Team On the Continent?

Credit: Liga MX

Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Tigres UANL

When: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017

Where: Estadio Caliente

Time: 9:15 P.M. PST

TV: Univision Deportes

The Liga MX was postponed this last weekend due to a massive earthquake that has caused major death and destruction in and around Mexico City.

This week, the league is back in full swing, and will have some midweek action as well. The Xolos will have a very tough week, first hosting Tigres UANL this Tuesday, Sept. 26, and then traveling to Michoacán to play Monarcas Morelia on Friday, Sept.29. Both games are set to be very complicated for the border city side, but this duel against Tigres UANL should be especially difficult.

Club Tijuana faced Tigres UANL three times in the Clausura 2017, once in the regular season and twice in the playoffs. The Aztec Canines lost all three games and were outscored 7-0 cumulatively in those three encounters. The Xolos will look to change that trend of defeats and keep their good run of form going into this game.

Club Tijuana is undefeated in its last six Liga MX games with two draws and four wins. The latest result for the Prehistoric Dogs was a 1-1 draw against Club America at the Estadio Caliente that resulted to be a hard-fought and thrilling encounter. Club America was lucky to come away with the point from the game as goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin put in a spectacular performance that impeded the Xolos from obtaining the three points from the match. The border city side did put in a solid performance, even if the inconsistent finishing ability from some of the players is worrying. Gustavo Bou particularly had a poor performance in that game, with four shots and nothing to show for it, and an uninspiring 63-percent pass accuracy.

The good thing for Eduardo Coudet is that the depth on Club Tijuana is now very impressive, especially when it comes to attacking options. The Argentine manager along with Bou has Juan Manuel Iturbe, Luis Angel Mendoza, Juan Martin Lucero, Henry Martin, and Miller Bolanos as possible attacking options. The key to victory in this game for Eduardo Coudet will be patience and to keep that 5-3-2 formation, even if it is tempting to switch to another formation with so many attacking options. A team like Tigres UANL can destroy a team like Eduardo Coudet’s Xolos if “Chacho” decides to be too aggressive and play toe-to-toe against Ricardo Ferretti’s side. The Aztec Canines will inclusively have the home-field advantage, which is huge since Tigres UANL has yet to win a game on the road in this Apertura 2017.

Tigres UANL is currently living a dynasty and is arguably the best team in the American continent. However, the team from Nuevo Leon has been underwhelming in this Apertura 2017, currently in sixth place with 13 points, but does have a game in hand as well. The latest result for Tigres was an exciting 3-3 draw against Monarcas Morelia away from home. A big problem for Los Felinos this season has been performance away from home as the team has not been able to win a game away from the Estadio Universitario. Los Regios have one of the most imposing offenses in the Liga MX with players like Javier Aquino, Lucas Zelayaran, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Eduardo Vargas, and Enner Valencia. Tigres inclusively has one of the most intelligent and respected head coaches in Mexico, Ricardo Ferretti. As mentioned before, the Xolos lost all three games against Tigres UANL in the Clausura 2017 tournament. This included a 2-0 loss against the Felines at the Estadio Caliente, where Gibran Lajud had an amazing performance, impeding the scoreline from looking worse than it was. Tigres UANL is struggling away from home, but should still put up an immense fight against Los Xoloitzcuintles in this game.

Players to Watch

Miller Bolanos

The Ecuadorian forward had a dream debut with Club Tijuana in his first game with his new team in week 9 of the Apertura. Bolanos scored the Xolos’ lone goal that secured a point out of the game against Club America at the Estadio Caliente. It is unclear which players Eduardo Coudet will start in this game and whether he will switch formations to fit in all of his potent attacking options. Regardless, Bolanos should get minutes in this game, at least off the bench, and it will be interesting to see how he can do against a tough team to break down like Tigres UANL.

Andre-Pierre Gignac

Gignac is still arguably the most talented player in the Liga MX even if he has been underwhelming to start off this new tournament. The French striker has only scored two goals in eight games this season, but has contributed with three assists as well. The European player is a complete forward and on his day is arguably the best striker the Liga MX has ever seen. Gignac seems to always shine in significant games, and this is an important one for Tigres away from home, and he should make an impact in the game.

The Verdict

The game should be a very exciting matchup between two of the best teams in the Liga MX. Both teams have a strong chance of competing for the title this season and if the Xolos can get a win out of this game, it is a prominent sign that the team has serious title aspirations in this Apertura 2017. Unfortunately for Club Tijuana, I predict that Eduardo Coudet will try to press Ricardo Ferretti’s side too aggressively and this will not result in a favorable result for the Xolos. The prediction for the game is a 2-1 win for Tigres UANL with goals by Andre-Pierre Gignac and Enner Valencia for Los Felinos and a goal by Gustavo Bou for Los Xolos.

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres' 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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