Game: Monarcas Morelia vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, January 7th
Time: 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central, 5:00 PM Pacific
Venue: Estadio Morelos (Morelia, Michoacán)
Television: United States - Azteca America; Mexico - SKY Planeta Fútbol, Azteca 7, Sky HD
Xolos head to Michoacán to take on Monarcas Morelia in the first match of 2017. Xolos have a lot of question marks coming into this match, perhaps none bigger than that surrounding 22 year old goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. With the retirement of Federico Vilar at the end of the Apertura, manager Miguel Herrera will look to Lajud to take the reins. Xolos offense also has received a healthy boost, having Henry Martin returning from injury in addition to bringing in Joe Corona from Dorados and Juan Martín Lucero from Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Morelia has undergone an overhaul of their own, hoping against hope to stave off relegation to the Ascenso. New manager Pablo Marini has looked to shore up a defense that gave up 34 goals in the Apertura, bringing in center back Gabriel Achilier from Emelec (Ecuador), left back Carlos Gerardo Rodriguez from Toluca, and goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa from Rosario Central (Argentina). If this defense can stop Monarcas from hemorrhaging goals in the Clausura, they may stay up.