Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club de Fútbol Universidad Nacional AC
Date: Saturday, October 26th
Time: 10:06 p.m. Eastern, 9:06 p.m. Central, 7:06 p.m. Pacific, 2:06 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo Gonzalez, AR1: Christian Kiabek Espinosa Zavala, AR2: Marco Antonio Bisguerra Mendiola, 4TH: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: Pumas holds the all time record in Liga MX play with seven wins to Tijuana’s three. The clubs have drawn four times. The last time the clubs met, Xolos got a 4-1 win in the Estadio Caliente.
Club Tijuana (4W 4D 5L) hasn’t lost a match at home all season (3W 4D 0L). They’ll look to continue that run of form against a strong UNAM Pumas (6W 5D 2L) side that has the best road form (4W 2D 1L) in Liga MX.
Tijuana sit in thirteenth place but just three points out of a Liguilla berth. Tied for ninth in goals conceded, they’ve lost a step defensively since the 2018 Clausura when they didn’t allow a goal for a record 516 minutes to start the season. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’ve only scored ten goals on the season. Only Atlas have scored fewer.
Quite simply, the attack has to show up for Tijuana. The pieces are there. Wingers Fabián Castillo and Eryc Castillo along with attacking midfielder Miller Bolaños are getting forward and creating chances, but no one is getting on the end of them. Juan Martín Lucero and Erick “Cubo” Torres each only have one goal, which simply won’t get the job done. If either one can score with some regularity, it could transform Xolos playoff outlook from bleak to promising.
Pumas comes to Tijuana on the other hand with no such goalscoring issues. Their 25 goals on the season are second only behind their cross-town rivals Club América (who hammered Xolos for three goals at Estadio Azteca last week). Lead by Felipe Mora and Carlos González with six goals each, Pumas are a fun team in the attack. González had a hat-trick last week against UANL Tigres (5W 4D 4L) and was voted Player of the Week by an assortment of journalists, bloggers, and broadcasters who cover Liga MX in English. (Full disclosure: I voted for González for Player of the Week.)
Their sixteen goals conceded are only slightly better than Tijuana’s/ Throw in defender Alan Mozo’s suspension for yellow card accumulation, and a slight glimmer of opportunity opens up for the home side. 18 year old cantañero Idekel Domínguez will most likely get the nod at right back for Pumas. Look for the matchup between Domínguez (or whomever winds up at right back) against Eryc “El Culebra” Castillo to be critical to any chances Xolos have at goal.