The Tijuana Xolos were on a good run of form before running into Monterrey in Week 11 of the Liga MX 2018 Apertura. Club Tijuana was on a three-game winning streak but fell 3-0 against Rayados away from home at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
The Border City Dogs were hit with a splash of water on the field as the rain fell down from the Monterrey sky, and were hit with a splash of reality by the result. Diego Cocca’s team is not good enough at the moment to compete against the best teams in the Liga MX and does not seem like a team that will be competitive in the playoffs, or even make them.
The Aztec Canines, under the leadership of Cocca, cannot win away from home as the team won its first road game in Cocca’s tenure in Week 9 of the 2018 Apertura. However, it was a narrow 1-0 win against Atlas, the last place team in the Liga MX that just won its first game this season in Week 11.
The Xolos’ defense is very average, built by scrappy veterans and players who have yet to make their mark in Mexican soccer. Gibran Lajud will make his blunders, the midfield is solid but not impactful enough to make a difference, and the attack is poor. Diego Cocca has yet to find his ideal starting XI, but keeps on banking on a very pragmatic and uninventive 4-4-2 formation. There is currently no striker that has stepped it up as Erick “Cubo Torres and Juan Martin Lucero have scored a combined two goals, which is the same as fullback Luis Fuentes.
There are other options on the bench, but Cocca has yet to explore them as he would need to stray away from his 4-4-2 formation to use them.
In terms of teams currently in the top eight, the Xoloitzcuintles have only beaten Pachuca and have suffered losses to Monterrey, Toluca, and Tigres UANL. Club Tijuana has tied against Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna, but both of those results came at the Estadio Caliente and the border city side is unlikely to be effective against either team in a playoff series.
The Border City Dogs are currently in 11th place with 15 points, only out of a playoff spot by goal differential, but given the poor offense, are unlikely to improve on that goal differential moving forward. There are also some very tough away games left in the season, with a visit to the Estadio Azteca to face Club America and a visit to the Estadio Cuauhtemoc to play Puebla.