Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Querétaro Fútbol Club
Date: Saturday, October 6th
Time: 10:36 p.m. Eastern, 9:36 p.m. Central, 7:36 p.m. Pacific, 2:36 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Referees: REF: Roberto García Orozco, AR1: Alberto Morin Méndez, AR2: José Alfredo López Cruz, 4TH: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: While Querétaro held the advantage while the teams were in the Ascenso MX with one win and one draw, Xolos have the edge in the top flight. Xolos have won seven to Gallos Blancos’ six with one draw - a 1-1 game at Estadio Caliente in the 2011 Apertura.
Club Tijuana (4W 3D 4L) currently sits eleventh on the table, however if it wasn’t or their -4 goal differential they could be as high as eighth. Their opponent this week is Querétaro (4W 3D 4L), who come to La Frontera with a slightly better goal differential (-1). It may be a bit hyperbolic to call a Week 12 game a “must-win” game. Instead with only six more games total on the calendar and a chance to go as high as seventh with some tough foes coming up we’ll say it’d bode very well for their playoff hopes.
Xolos have been performing well as of late, with last week’s slop-fest at a pond in Monterrey their only loss in their last four Liga MX games. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud got his second consecutive call-up to the Mexican National Team and with a game at the Mictlán, Tijuana have a golden opportunity to regain their momentum going into the international break.
They’ll need to get better performances from their forwards. Getting a good game from Miller Bolaños or Erick “Cubo” Torres is good, but at some point it would be reassuring to see everyone have a solid game. Fabián Castillo and Eryc Castillo need to have a good game in conjunction with the others.
While Xolos defense has been consistently good, they’re going to face a big test against Querétaro. Camilo Sanvezzo has regained the form he had when he first came to Liga MX from the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer. Ex-Xolos Javier Güémez has also been having a great season, as he’ll join Lajud in representing Mexico.
Marcel Ruiz is also having a breakout season. The 17 year old attacking midfielder has proven an invaluable cog in manager Rafael Puente, Jr.’s offense, having joined Lajud in Mexico’s last national team camp. His composure and vision belie his age, yet he’s still young enough to experiment on the field without fear.
Querétaro will be a good test for Xolos both offensively and defensively. And while it sounds like a must-win game, it’s not one (unless it is one).