Tijuana Xolos Liga MX 2019 CL Playoffs Preview: Xolos Seek Impossible Comeback in Leon

Credit: Club Leon FC

Game: Leon vs. Tijuana Xolos

When: Saturday, May 11, 2019

Where: Nou Camp, Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

Time: 7:06 P.M. PST

TV: Univision Deportes

The Tijuana Xolos will play the second-leg of their quarterfinal series against Leon this Saturday, May 11 at the Nou Camp in Leon. Club Tijuana is going into this fixture with a massive disadvantage as Leon has a comfortable 3-1 lead.

Los Esmeraldas were able to pull off a massive victory at the Estadio Caliente in the first-leg, and now the Xolos will need a miracle to advance to the semifinals. The Xoloitzcuintles need to win by three goals or more to advance to the semifinals, and the chances of doing that are more than slim.

The Xolos played an aggressive playing style in the first-leg, which hurt the team as Leon was patient and took advantage of its opportunities. The difference in the quality of the two teams was very evident in the first-leg, but the big defeat was not expected.

Many Xolos’ players like Miller Bolanos and Gustavo Bou had disappointing performances last Wednesday, and Oscar Pareja’s attack will need to step it up in this match. Tijuana’s offense was able to score eight goals in its last two games of the regular season, but this will be a much tougher task than those two games.

Fullback Omar Mendoza missed the first-leg for Club Tijuana due to an injury, but he did train with the Aztec Canines during the week and is expected to be ready for this game. Mendoza’s absence was very noticeable in the 3-1 loss as his experience was needed to cover some ground against Leon’s speedy wingers.

Leon finished the regular season leading the Liga MX with 41 points and 41 goals scored, and that showed in the first-leg of this series. Los Panzas Verdes were dominant against Club Tijuana at the Estadio Caliente and did not need to do much in this game to maintain their lead.

La Fiera may have the best attack in the league, and it is scary to think that players like Angel Mena and Joel Campbell did not play to their full potential in the first-leg. However, Leon’s backline did stay consistent this past Wednesday, and it will be tough for the Xolos’ attackers to break it down.

Players to Watch

Angel Mena

Mena is arguably the best player in the Liga MX, but he did not play to his full potential in the first-leg of this series. The Ecuadorian forward did have glimpses of greatness against the Xoloitzcuintles but is capable of doing much more going forward with his passing, dribbling and shooting abilities.

Miller Bolanos

The Xolos’ attack left a lot to be desired in the 3-1 loss, but Miller Bolanos did have his moments during the game. Bolanos can command Tijuana’s attack at times, and he will need to put in a big performance for the Xolos to get some much-needed goals.

Prediction

EVT predicts a 3-2 win for Leon as Los Esmeraldas will have the home-field advantage and do have the much better squad.

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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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