The highly expected debut of the Club Tijuana Xolos was ruined by a loss to Monarcas Morelia on their home soil in Tijuana. The new team now goes into Monterrey this weekend hoping to get a better result than the one they earned in week 1. Xolos are determined to make an impact in the first division; their offseason investments show that Tijuana does not want to be in Mexico’s first division for only a couple of seasons. Though it’s still very early in the season, Xolos have to quickly adapt and start gaining valuable points this Apertura. Monterrey is the next test, and going into “El Technologico” is never an easy task.
In recent years Monterrey has built what many see as the strongest team in the league, and in week 1, they showed how strong of a team they are. Their biggest signing in the off-season was “Chelito” Delgado, a player who was once an idol in Cruz Azul before departing to Europe. Delgado now returns to Mexico for another opportunity, and last Sunday vs. Jaguares showed what he is still capable of. Monterrey has been a team who is always strong in front of their crowd, practically being unbeatable at times.
The “Aztec Dogs” come into this game after a 2-1 loss to Morelia. The team lacked consistency in the game, and at times still looked like a second division team. When Morelia began to control the game, Tijuana began to feel the pressure in their home crowd and lacked good team chemistry. Xolos coach, Joaquin Del Olmo, made some changes in the in which they controlled most of the game, but with no clear chances at goal.
For week 2, Xolos adds their new acquisition to their squad, international Colombian player Dayro Moreno. Moreno joins the team after being with the Colombian National team participating in this year’s Copa America, in which Moreno participated in all four games for Los Cafeteros. Moreno can add major mobility to this Tijuana team, as a player who is constant mobile up and down the field. Coach Joaquin Del Olmo now has the option of having Moreno come off the bench in their game vs. Monterrey.
“La Pandilla” comes from an exceptional 4-1 win against Jaguares in week 1. Monterrey showed the rest of the league what they are made of, displaying a dangerous counter attack. The first half seemed like any other typical first week of the season game, very little attack, and a constant play at midfield. After going up 2-1 into halftime, Monterrey seemed to sit back and see what Jaguares could do. Though Chiapas had most control of the game, Monterrey had clearer chances to score. With the counter attacks led by Sergio Perez and Nery Cardozo, Monterrey cruised in the second half, scoring their last two goals in the lapse of 2 minutes, ending the game with a 4-1 score.
For week 2, Monterrey now has the possibility to field their star forward Humberto Suazo, who did not participate in the first week of the season due to international duty with the Chilean national team. Another option for Monterrey is the possible return of their other star forward, Mexican international, Aldo De Nigris, who has been battling with injury for the past weeks. De Nigris will be evaluated and will be determined by game day if he will be able to at least make the bench.
Though Joaquin Del Olmo has stated that they are prepared and confident to overcome their week one loss, playing in Monterrey will be no easy task. I’ll be very shocked if Xolos comes out of this game with one point, but as unpredictable as Mexican futbol is, don’t be surprised if the Xolos go into Monterrey stealing more than one point.
Monterrey vs. Tijuana kicks off at 8:00 pm ET on Saturday and can be seen on Telemundo.