Game: Deportivo Toluca Fútbol Club S.A. de C.V vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Sunday, May 13th
Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 5:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Alberto Morin Méndez, AR2: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, 4TH: Oscar Macías Romo
Series record: Tijuana leads 2-1 after the first leg at Estadio Caliente on Thursday night. If the aggregate ends in a draw, Toluca will advance due to their higher seeding.
Juan Martín Lucero has had his ups and downs as a Xolos player this season. With Gustavo “Pantera” Bou playing more of a left wing or inside forward role, the lion’s share of the scoring responsibility has fallen on Lucero with varying degrees of success. Everything clicked for Lucero on Thursday, as he scored both Xolos’ goals in the 2-1 result over Toluca.
In a press conference on Friday, Lucero said “We played a good game. Satisfied that we won and did things well. Anything can happen in the playoffs.”
It was a fiery affair that saw nine yellow cards given, although it could have more. With both teams embracing a defensive and physically aggressive style of play it was perhaps a minor miracle that the match ended with all twenty-two players on the pitch.
While Tijuana dominated the majority of play, it was Toluca that got a moral victory with a last second goal from Fernando Uribe. It was a victory that felt like a loss to a lot of Xolos fans, while Toluca fans seemed to gain some confidence that a result at home would propel them into the Final.
Look for more of the same from these clubs, as the lineups should remain about the same. Xolos will be getting Ignacio Rivero back from his suspension for picking up a red card against Rayados, while Toluca could switch Juan Delgaldillo in for Ángel Reyna. Alexis Canelo did not dress for the first match due to an injury, and it remains unclear if he’ll be available for selection for Hernán Cristante’s side. It may not be a beautiful game, but it should be an intense match filled with the excitement and drama we have come to expect from a Liga MX semifinal match.