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UANL Tigres Vs. Toluca, 2011 Apertura: Preview

It's now Round 3 and UANL Tigres have yet to win a match. One of the leading preseason title favorites, Tigres have begun their Apertura campaign in pedestrian fashion, scoring just one goal and earning draws against Cruz Azul and Queretaro in their first two matches. Not exactly what the fans were expecting. A number of Tigres supporters have been vocally unhappy with the team's play on the field, so the players might feel a bit of extra pressure as they return home to Estadio Universitario for their match-up with Toluca on Wednesday night.

Toluca is coming off an impressive defensive performance against Club America over the weekend. Losing key defender Edgar Duenas to a red card, and playing a man down for most of the match, the Red Devils were still able to contain Christian Benitez and come away with a 1-1 draw. Duenas will now miss Wednesday's game as well due to suspension, so Toluca will need to produce a similarly effective performance against Tigres. Felix Araujo came off the bench against America and filled in admirably on the backline, so we'll likely see him move into a starting role for the Red Devils on Wednesday night.

As good as Toluca has played on defense this season, the Tigres backline has been even better. Anchored by Hugo Ayala and Juninho in the back, Tigres have conceded just one goal in two games. Against Toluca, the primary concern will be keeping Ivan Alonso off the ball. The Uruguayan striker has now scored in back-to-back games, with both goals coming very early in the match. Tigres will also have to limit the space given to Nestor Calderon on the left wing. The young Toluca winger has become a key element of the Red Devils' attack this season.

The biggest challenge for Tigres, though, will be finding the back of the net. Against Queretaro they created several good chances for Hector Mancilla, but he was never able to finish. One attacking player who will not appear for Tigres is Edgar Pacheco. Coming off the bench this weekend he injured his ankle, ruling him out of Wednesday's match.

Can Tigres turn things around on offense? Despite not scoring this weekend, overall the play up front did look better than the previous week. If they can take another big step forward on Wednesday, then the goals will finally come. If not, then the team may endure the ugly wrath of their own fans at Estadio Universitaro before the night is over.