Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Atlante
When: Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
Where: Estadio Caliente
Time: 7:00 P.M. PST
This Tuesday, Aug. 29, the Tijuana Xolos will host second division side Atlante at the Estadio Caliente for a game in the fifth round of matches in the Liga MX Apertura 2017.
The game will be Club Tijuana’s last in the group stages of this edition of the Copa MX before the knockout stages. The border city side is currently leading Group 4 of the tournament with five points ahead of Atlante and Puebla. Puebla is not far off Club Tijuana in second place, with four points, and still has a game against Atlante. If Xolos do not win this game, Puebla could overtake the Aztec Canines with a win on the final match day of the group stages of the Copa MX. The Xoloitzcuintles are currently undefeated in the Copa MX with a 1-0 win against Puebla at home and 1-1 draws against Atlante and Puebla away from home.
Eduardo Coudet has used mostly bench and reserve players for these games, and some of the players that have featured in this Copa MX have shone, and broken into the starting 11 in the Liga MX. With the amount of depth Club Tijuana has, the players that will feature in this match will give it their all for a chance to feature in Liga MX games.
Players like Joe Corona, Alejandro Guido, and Matias Pisano will be some of the more intriguing names that could have breakout performances in this game. It will also be interesting to see if Mauricio Cuero or Enzo Kalinski, who have been linked to moves away from Tijuana, will be present in this game. The Xolos have been doing fantastic in the Liga MX recently, undefeated in their last four games, winning their last three. Club Tijuana should win this game against a much weaker side at home and secure its place in the round of 16 in the competition.
Atlante has struggled massively in the second-tier league of Mexican soccer, currently in 14th place with only six points. Los Potros de Hierro have lost three consecutive games in the Ascenso MX and only have one point in the Copa MX, coming from a 1-1 draw against Club Tijuana at home. Atlante was very lucky to get that point as the second-tier side achieved a goal in the dying minutes of the game to get the 1-1 result. The attendance at that game was a woeful 1,425 fans in Cancun, but a full house is expected at the Estadio Caliente this Tuesday night. Former Mexico U-17 national team coach, Raul “Potro” Gutierrez, is very experienced, but does not counter with a very impressive squad. Some of the standouts on the team include midfielders Fernando Herrera and Alan Zamora, who had stints in the Liga MX. Atlante did give Club Tijuana a fight the first time the two teams faced each other, but this time at the Estadio Caliente, Club Tijuana should emerge as the dominant winners.
Players to Watch
It is still very unclear what starting 11 Eduardo Coudet will use in this game, but one of the players that should feature in it is Joe Corona. There will be no Liga MX action this weekend because of the international break, so we could see the Argentine manager use some key players in this match. Corona missed out on the call to the United States national team and has fallen a bit out of place with Club Tijuana. The American’s lack of playing time in the Liga MX should mean a start in this game, which could give Corona an opportunity to prove himself. It is hard to believe that the San Diego native will just sit on the bench for the rest of the season after what he showed throughout last season, and a positive performance in this game could make “Chacho” Coudet re-evaluate Corona’s role on the team.
Juan Manuel Iturbe
Iturbe did not get the call-up to the Paraguayan national team for the World Cup qualifiers during the international break. The Argentine-born Paraguayan already made his Liga MX debut, playing 25 minutes against Pachuca last Friday. Eduardo Coudet should heavily consider starting Iturbe for this match so the former Roma forward can adapt to the synthetic turf at the Estadio Caliente. The 24-year-old missed an open net chance against Pachuca in his debut and did mention that the turf played a role in his miss. Iturbe can potentially be one of the more exciting players in the Liga MX, but he does need to get those minutes in with the club to adjust to the Mexican game and the artificial grass of the Estadio Caliente.
There is no reason why the Xolos should not be able to get the three points from this game, especially at home. Eduardo Coudet’s men will be facing a much more inferior side and will have the motivation to obtain the three points to clinch a spot in the round of 16 in the competition. The prediction for the game is a comfortable 2-0 win for Club Tijuana, with Juan Manuel Iturbe getting on the score sheet twice.