Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V.
Date: Friday, January 12
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo Gonzalez, AR1: José Santana Martínez, AR2: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, 4TH: Juan Andres Esquivel Gonzalez
All-time record: In Liga MX play, Necaxa has won twice and the clubs have drawn once as well. When the clubs were in the Ascenso MX, Xolos won once and Necaxa won twice, including a semifinal home-and-home where Nelson Maz scored all five goals in Necaxa’s 5-3 win. In Copa MX play, Xolos have won four, while Necaxa bested them once - the 2016 Clausura quarterfinals when Necaxa won 6-5 in penalties.
One match into the season, Club Tijuana has as many points as they did four matches in to the 2017 Apertura. It wasn’t the prettiest match, but it was a well-deserved point against a Cruz Azul side that is expected to make the playoffs. Gibran Lajud and the defense posted a clean sheet on the road, and there were a ton of positives to take away from Diego Cocca’s first match at the helm.
There were some concerning things as well. Xolos never really threatened offensively until the second half, and even then they were still unable to fully solve Cruz Azul’s defense. Xolos have a good offensive setup, and they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders to be able to keep pace with Necaxa.
Necaxa hosted Veracruz this past weekend, and drew Tiburones 0-0. For a club with as much offensive prowess as Necaxa, they have to be disappointed in their showing against lowly Veracruz. Martín Barragán and Carlos González combined for just four shots for Rayos, who really offered nothing going forward.
Off the field, Necaxa picked up 20 year old winger Christian Lucatero from the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer. Lucatero is a prospect, having never made an appearance for Houston (he did make 33 appearances for their USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC however). Xolos are also rumored to be sending Alejandro Donatti to join ex-Xolos manager Eduardo Coudet at Argentina’s Racing Club for USD 2 million.