Game: Queretaro vs Tijuana Xolos
When: Wednesday, April 12
Where: Estadio Corregidora
Time: 5:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos will have two Liga MX games this week; today on Wednesday, April 12, and on Saturday, April 15.
The game this Wednesday will be a part of the week 10 that was postponed due to a strike by the referees.
The Xolos will play Queretaro away from home at the Estadio Corregidora. This is a game that the Xolos should be able to win, and must win to stay in contention for the playoffs in the Liga MX.
Club Tijuana is still among the top teams in the Liga MX Clausura 2017, currently in fourth place with 19 points. The border city side is coming from a hard-fought 0-0 draw to Club America at the Estadio Caliente. The draw was the third consecutive one for the Aztec Canines and the fourth consecutive game that the Xolos failed to win. The Prehistoric Dogs have also had injury problems plaguing their back line. Victor Aguilera was announced to be out for the rest of the season, while Michael Orozco was injured in the game against Club America and is expected to miss at least a week. Miguel Herrera will also be serving his fourth of five games of suspension– assistant coach, Diego Ramirez, being on the sidelines in his place. The Xolos will most likely have a very young defense with Carlos Vargas, 18, and Hiram Munoz, 21, filling the roles of Victor Aguilera and Michael Orozco.
This could prove to play a huge role in the game, with an inexperienced back line for Diego Ramirez. Tijuana’s offense has been the best in the Liga MX, averaging two goals per game, scoring 24 goals this tournament. The strike force of Milton Caraglio and Aviles Hurtado has been among the deadliest in the league, scoring 11 goals collectively. The offense will need to carry the team in this game with the defense being shaky and inexperienced. The border city side has not secured a playoff spot yet and this game is an important one, as it is one that the Xolos should be winning. The Aztec Canines are in fourth place with 19 points, but the league is so contested that only two points separate Tijuana from ninth place. The Xolos must win this game, but it will not come easy against a potent team in Queretaro.
Queretaro has never been an overpowering team in the Liga MX, most recently getting to a final in 2014. The ‘Gallos Blancos’ are what you would consider a small-market team, but do have potential to reach the playoffs this season. Queretaro is currently in 12th place with 15 points, only three points out of a playoff spot. The ‘Gallos’ are coming from two consecutive losses, falling to Santos Laguna 1-0 in week 12, and being dominated by Atlas this last weekend, losing 4-1. Since week 5 of the tournament, Queretaro has had a new manager in Jaime Lozano. Before this new manager had stepped in, the ‘Gallos’ had not won, and had not even scored a goal. Since week 5, Queretaro now has 16 goals, which is tied for sixth-best in the Liga MX. This is a crucial game for Jaime Lozano and Queretaro’s playoff aspirations, the three points being the only favorable result for the team. The main component of ‘Los Gallos’ has been their midfield lead by Luis Miguel Noriega and Neri Cardozo, who have combined for four goals and seven assists. While Queretaro is strong and under exceptional management, it is not stronger than Tijuana, and not even the home-field advantage should play a factor here.
Players to Watch
Guido Rodriguez just turned 23 years old today, but seems like one of the most mature players on the Xoloitzcuintles. The Argentine midfielder offers a distinguishable presence on the pitch that no other player on the Xolos can offer. Aviles Hurtado has his flare and his presence set on the soccer field, but Guido Rodriguez offers much more than that. Rodriguez is the clear leader going back and going forward making the midfield his own. The 23-year-old is crucial in nearly every game for the border city side and this encounter should be no different, playing a vital role if the Xolos do get a favorable result.
The Xolos’ goalkeeper has not proven to be the most reliable option, but he has shown up when the team needs him the most. The game against Atlas is a good example, Lajud made a silly error to concede a goal, but was amazing in that game, allowing the Aztec Canines to come away with a 3-3 draw. The Mexico City native even stopped a penalty in that game and did everything possible to come away with that point. Lajud did not show up at all in the game against Club America because, fortunately, America did not test him throughout the 90 minutes. The defense did hold their own against ‘Las Aguilas’ last Friday, but it might not be the same in this match. There are two very young elements that comprise the back line and Gibran Lajud will need to step up in this game to avoid conceding any goals. The Mexican goalkeeper has 40 saves so far, which is tied for eighth best in the league. Hopefully, he can add more to his total in this match if it is necessary.
The match should be an exciting duel between two teams that do need the three points. The Xolos are the clear favorites even with their weakened back line. But the Liga MX is as unpredictable as ever and this should prove to be a hard-fought clash. Queretaro has only lost two games at home this year and the visit to the Estadio Corregidora could prove to be a tough task for Diego Ramirez and company. The prediction for the duel is a 2-1 win for the Aztec Canines that will not come easy, the lone goal for Queretaro coming from Neri Cardozo and the two goals from the Xolos coming from Milton Caraglio and Guido Rodriguez. The game should be an interesting one that the Xoloitzcuintles can hopefully win. Fuerza Tijuas!