Game: Club de Fútbol Monterrey vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, January 20th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey, N.L.)
Referees: REF: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AR1: Israel Valenciano Torres, AR2: Jimmy Acosta Montesinos, 4TH: Ivan Asael Martinez Gomez
Radio: ESPN Deportes Radio
All-time record: Xolos have won three against Monterrey in Liga MX play, most recently in the 2016 Apertura by a 2-0 score. They’ve lost six times against Rayados, and the clubs have drawn four. They’ve met in the playoffs twice, with Monterrey advancing to the semifinals in the 2012 Clausura and Xolos advancing to the semifinals in the 2012 Apertura during their Liga MX winning season.
Tijuana (1W 1D 0L) heads to Nuevo León to face the 2017 Apertura runners-up Monterrey (1W 1D 0L). Xolos won their first match of the year last week, dispatching Necaxa 1-0 on a Luís Chávez blast in the 24th minute. Xolos looked confident in front of their home fans, and while there was a bit of a let up late in the game they were able to keep Necaxa from equalizing. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud has two consecutive clean sheets in the 2018 Clausura, thanks in part to Diego Cocca’s four man back line of Damián Pérez, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, and Michael Orozco.
Xolos however haven’t been able to match the defense’s success on the offensive side of the ball. Gustavo Bou was able to shake off an injury and play a full 90 minutes against Rayos last week, and he’ll need better support from the players around him. Juan Iturbe was subbed off injured, but in the post match press conference Cocca said that the injury didn’t look as severe as was initially thought.
Rayados also got their first win of the season last week against lowly Veracruz, with Arturo González and Dorlan Pabón getting the goals and Hugo González keeping his first clean sheet of the year. Monterrey also had a midweek Copa MX match against Dorados Sinaloa this past Wednesday, that Rayados won by the score of 2-1. Rayados are the defending Copa MX Champions.
There are a couple of familiar faces on Monterrey. Manager Antonio “Turco” Mohamed managed Tijuana from 2011 to 2013, winning the club’s only Liga MX championship. Avilés Hurtado was with Tijuana in 2016 to 2017, leading the club in goals during the 2017 Clausura. Hurtado is a dangerous player, however he missed the match against Veracruz with an injury.
Rayados is a dynamic attacking team, able to pose problems to even the staunchest of defenses. Even with the potential of Hurtado missing a second straight game, Xolos can not take them lightly. Pabón and Rogelio Funes Mori are as formidable a striker tandem as any in the league, and Arturo González and Jonathan González will help create opportunities for them. Expect a great match between two very good teams.