Game: Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, July 29th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Victoria (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
All time record: These teams have met twice in Liga MX play, with Necaxa winning one and the clubs drawing the other. In Ascenso MX play, Tijuana won one, lost two, and the clubs drew once. In the Copa MX, Xolos won four out of five matches, with the clubs drawing the other (Necaxa would advance on penalties)
Tijuana (0W 0D 1L) looks to get the first win of the Eduardo Coudet era as the club heads to Aguascalientes to face off against Necaxa (1W 0D 0L). Xolos looked rather flat and a bit disjointed in their 2-0 loss against Cruz Azul, however the club is getting Joe Corona and Paul Arriola back from their stint wtih the United States in the Gold Cup. Chacho Coudet may look to insert either man into the lineup, with Corona most likely replacing Alejandro Guido and Arriola possibly replacing the largely ineffectual Mauricio Cuero.
Defensively, Matias Aguirregaray was a stand out - and for more than his retro 90’s footballer look complete with mullet and goatee. Aguirregaray shut down the right side defensively, and really was a leader on the pitch. The rest of the defense will need to step up and match his intensity and ethic.
Necaxa was able to beat lowly Veracruz last weekend by a 2-0 scoreline, with Jesus Isijara and Carlos Gonzalez putting the game out of reach for by the 20th minute. Much like Xolos, Los Rayos underwent a major overhaul during the offseason. Leading scorer Edson Puch was shipped off to Pachuca, replaced by the Paraguayan Gonzalez. Look for Dieter Villalpando to pull the strings in the midfield, while Mario Luna, Igor Lichnovsky, and goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero form the defensive spine of the club.
Necaxa looks to be much tougher defensively than they have been in recent seasons, and this should present a particular challenge to a Xolos offense that really wasn’t able to put much together against La Maquina last week. If they’re able to harness some of the creativity and get everyone on the same page they could do what Veracruz couldn’t - score a goal. If they still haven’t gotten the bugs worked out, it could be a long night for the Tijuas.