Tijuana Xolos: Oscar Pareja Has Found His Ideal Starting XI

Credit: Xolos

The Tijuana Xolos defeated Veracruz 3-0 in Week 7 of the Liga MX 2019 Clausura to extend their undefeated streak to three games. The Aztec Canines have been in good form recently as they have outscored opponents 6-1 in this undefeated run.

Oscar Pareja has not moved his starting lineup since Week 5 of the 2019 Clausura and it seems that the Colombian manager has found his ideal starting XI. The lineup is as follows: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Julian Velazquez, Diego Braghieri, Luis Fuentes, Diego Rodriguez, Ignacio Rivero, Fabian Castillo, Miller Bolanos, Gustavo Bou, Ariel Nahuelpan.

The attack is the most impressive component of the team as it works perfectly together combining the flair of Fabian Castillo and Miller Bolanos with the strength of Gustavo Bou and Ariel Nahuelpan. The midfield partnership of Ignacio Rivero and Diego Rodriguez does lack physicality, but both players do a great job with tracking back and distribution.

The backline has been excellent in recent games, allowing just one goal in Club Tijuana’s last three games and the partnership of Braghieri and Velazquez has worked wonders. Both Argentine centre-backs have an immense physical presence and work well together as Diego Braghieri commands the backline with his leadership. Gibran Lajud has also been in great form recently as he stopped a penalty against Veracruz in the Xoloitzcuintles’ last match.

The fullbacks can be a weak point of the team, but after trying out Ignacio Rivero as a right-back it seems like Omar Mendoza and Luis Fuentes are the most reliable options on the team to fill those positions.

One other problem this lineup will endure in the future is that there are no young players in it to fill the Liga MX youth minutes role. Very ironic given Oscar Pareja’s work with young players throughout his managerial career.

18-year-old striker Daniel Lopez scored his first-ever Liga MX goal against Veracruz this past Friday and could work into Pareja’s team going forward. Other options to fill the youth minutes requirement could be attacking midfielder Antonio Nava or fullbacks Luis Martinez and Osciel De La Cruz.

It will be interesting to see Pareja’s adjustments going forward, with the possibility of injuries as well as Fabian Castillo was banged up in the last game against Veracruz. However, it does seem like the Colombian manager has finally found his formula to be successful with Club Tijuana.

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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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