The Tijuana Xolos played their 11th game in the Liga MX 2018 Apertura on Saturday, Sept. 29, as the Aztec Canines visited the Estadio BBVA Bancomer to face Monterrey. The sky was falling in the “Sultana del Norte” as heavy rain poured down from the Monterrey sky onto the pitch of the BBVA Bancomer.
The field was absolutely soaked, and this did impact the game as the ball was not rolling in some instances of the clash. Monterrey had a quick start and opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a goal from Rogelio Funes Mori on a play that made young center-back Gustavo Canto look silly.
The rest of the first half stayed quiet, like the Xoloitzcuintles’ offense that had just one shot on target in the first 45 minutes. The Xolos’ attack was even more dormant in the second half with three total shots and none on target.
Los Rayados kept on tacking on with a penalty scored by Nicolas Sanchez in the 55th minute, then a goal by Jesus Gallardo in the 75th minute to seal the game. The poor conditions of the field did make an impact on that final goal, but the Xolos’ backline, and Gibran Lajud, could have arguably done much more on the play to prevent the goal.
The match was not even played in its entirety because of the conditions as referee Jonathan Hernandez Juarez put an end to the Xolos’ dismay before the 90th-minute mark. The game became unwatchable in the second half, but it was very clear that Club Tijuana could not muster up a competitive effort against one of the better teams in the league.
The Border City Dogs are currently still out of a playoff spot just on goal differential, and this was definitely a missed opportunity to gain some ground in the league table. Club Tijuana will have a much more manageable task in Week 12 as the Aztec Canines will host Queretaro at the Estadio Caliente.
Xolos’ Starting Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza (58’ Jesus Angulo), Julian Velazquez, Gustavo Canto, Luis Fuentes (76’ Juan Martin Lucero), Ignacio Rivero, Diego Rodriguez, Diego Gonzalez (73’ Alejandro Guido), Fabian Castillo, Miller Bolanos, Erick Torres
Diego Cocca used the same exact starting lineup that was able to get a 1-0 win against Pachuca in Week 10, but this time around it was not as effective. One of the shocking decisions was to sit out team captain Juan Carlos Valenzuela and start 24-year-old Gustavo Canto. The young Argentine center-back struggled heavily in the match and was outclassed by Monterrey’s powerful attack. The Xolos’ offense continued its inconsistencies with just one shot on target in the whole game. Erick “Cubo Torres is clearly not the answer up front, but Juan Martin Lucero does not seem like a much better option.