Game: Club León vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, February 4th
Time: 5:06 PM Pacific, 7:06 PM Central, 8:06 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio León (León, Gto.)
Xolos (3W 0D 1L) have defied the odds all season long to climb atop the Liga MX table, and they’ll have to continue to defy them in order to say there. Not only will they look to move past their collapse in the Liguilla against León in December, but they’ll need to do it as teammate Yasser Corona is in the hospital in Tijuana. Corona underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a damaged vertabrae after a horrific injury during the previous night’s Copa MX match against Correcaminos UAT.
Xolos have been playing well, with Milton Caraglio finally finding good form. Caraglio has two goals in four games, which contrast to his three in nineteen games in the Apertura. Paul Arriola has also been a solid contributor, with the young American contributing a goal and two assists thus far, but perhaps the biggest story is the Xolos defense, which has only allowed four goals in the four games. Young goalkeeper Gibran Lajud has shown a confidence and maturity that belie his 23 years.
They will face a rather disappointing León (1W 1D 2L) team that knocked Tijuana out of the Liguilla before going down against the eventual champions Tigres. León’s last match against Monterrey ended in a 0-0 draw in Nuevo León, which suggests they may be righting the ship a bit. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough is the key to La Fiera - if Yarbrough is playing well, León has a good chance to win. If he isn’t then it’s up to León’s offense, which has been downright anemic lately. León has only scored once in their last three matches - Carlos Peña’s 85th minute goal against Necaxa on January 14th. Mauro Boselli, who scored 10 goals in the Apertura, has none through the four games this year. That said, he is still dangerous and still must be accounted for by the Xolos defense.