Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club Atlético Monarcas Morelia
Date: Saturday, November 10th
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: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, AR2: Enrique Martìnez Sandoval, 4TH: Jonathan Hernandez Juarez
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: Monarcas holds the slight edge in Liga MX play, having won five to Xolos’ four. The clubs have drawn five times as well.
As the 2018 Apertura draws to a close, Club Tijuana (4W 4D 7L) heads back to Baja California to host Monarcas Morelia (6W 4D 5L). Still smarting from a 3-1 loss at the hands of Lobos BUAP (4W 4D 7L) last Saturday, Xolos are mathematically still alive in the hunt for a Liguilla spot. Even if win out however it will require losses by other teams for the fifteenth place Aztec Canines to eke in.
Interim manager Franky Oviedo experimented in the last match with the lineup, albeit to varying degrees of success. The offense looked a bit more dangerous than in weeks past, as Miller Bolaños and Eryc Castillo looked to slowly find some rhythm and timing and Ignacio Rivero was able to contribute with a goal. Issues remained however, as Jesús Angulo and newcomer Luis Martínez put in poor performances.
Still with the season all but over now is the time for guys like Martínez to get minutes and make mistakes with little on the line but pride. The team should look at the match against Monarcas and next week against Puebla as opportunities to secure their place on the roster for the 2019 Clausura.
Unlike the home side, Monarcas has a lot to play for. They’re currently tied on points for eighth place with Pachuca (6W 4D 5L), however would miss the Liguilla based on goal differential (-2 to Tuzos’ +8).
Monarcas will be without the services of center back and captain Gabriel Achilier, who was shown a red card in Morelia’s 2-0 loss to Tigres UANL (6W 5D 4L) last week. Look for Carlos Valadéz or Efraín Velarde to step in next to Emanuel Loeschbor. Morelia has conceded 22 goals thus far this season, which finds them ranked 13 out of 18.
What Monarcas may lack on defense however, they may make up for in offense. Only having scored 20 goals this season, Morelia isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut. They do however have enough quality in players like Carlos Ferreira and Miguel Sansores where they should have the ability to compensate for any defensive shortcomings.
Still, this may be the opening Xolos need to break out of their offensive funk. They’ll have the home field advantage of the Mictlán and a coach who (at least from his previous game) appears to be willing to try new things offensively against a weakened defense.