Game: Club de Futbol Tigres de la Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Sunday, May 21st
Time: 6:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 PM Central, 9:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Streaming: Sling (Free trial + monthly subscription)
Tijuana has been in this situation before. In the Quarterfinals against Monarcas Morelia, Xolos came back to Tijuana down a goal after a lackluster performance and was able to pull out a thrilling 2-1 win. Miguel Herrera’s side played a much better brand of soccer in front of the home fans in the second leg, and they’ll need to do that against a Tigres side that has been an absolute buzzsaw as of late.
If Tijuana is going to win, they’ll need to do it without Juan Carlos “Topo” Valenzeula, who suffered what looked to be a hamstring injury early in the first leg. Luis Chavez came on for Topo and did a decent job, however Tigres still was able to score twice. Aviles Hurtado also limped off, but should be available for selection. Tijuana needs him to get involved and create chances, as he was largely absent during the first leg.
It should be noted that Tijuana was able to keep Tigres off of the board during the second half of the match. It could very easily have been a 4-0 lead going into this match, were it not for the stellar play of Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. His acrobatic saves kept Andre-Pierre Gignac off of the scoresheet - something that has not been easy to do. Gignac had been on a tear, scoring four of Tigres’ six goals against Monterrey in the Quarterfinals.
Not to be outdone, goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman was able to keep a clean sheet against Xolos, keeping their high-octane offense quiet with a few great saves of his own. Credit also goes to the rest of the Tigres defense for constantly interrupting the flow of Xolos passing. They’ll need to continue to drop Jesus Duenas and Guido Pizarro back to help clog the passing lanes, especially with how fast the artificial turf is at Estadio Caliente.