While the offseason has just begun, there has been a lot of activity in Tijuana on, off, and about the pitch.
Captain Pablo Aguilar is moving to Cruz Azul, with the Mexico City club announcing the move last week. Aguilar was a huge reason for Xolos resurgence and push into the playoffs, and it will be interesting to see how he is replaced both positionally and in terms of his leadership.
Rumor has it that star-crossed right winger Juan Iturbe will be heading to Pumas during the offseason. Iturbe only made three appearances in the Clausura before rupturing his Achilles’ tendon. The wrinkle with this is that Iturbe is possibly on loan from AS Roma, depending on whether or not Iturbe hit “certain sporting targets” according to a report by ESPN’s Tom Marshall when Iturbe signed.
Pumas are also reportedly interested in acquiring Ignacio Malcorra. The left wing was one of the best players for Xolos in the 2017 Apertura but never seemed to gain the confidence of manager Diego Cocca, who wound up using “Nacho” as a sub and starting Gustavo “Pantera” Bou out of position on the left.
Xolos are reportedly looking to get left back Luis Fuentes and striker Erick “Cubo” Torres from Pumas. 31 year old Fuentes made 12 appearances for Pumas in the Clausura while 25 year old Cubo is on loan from the Houston Dynamo and made just four appearances in the Clausura. It’s unclear how either Fuentes or Cubo would fit into the Xolos setup. Fuentes could challenge Omar Mendoza for the starting left back position, but unless Cubo can find the form he had with Chivas USA in 2013-14 he’d most likely be behind Pantera, Juan Lucero, José “Beto” García, and even left wing Rubio Rubin and central attacking midfielder Miller Bolaños on the depth chart.
The east stands are getting an addition. According to a club spokesperson, 33 luxury suites are being added to the east side as well as an unknown number of regular seats. The spokesperson also confirmed that “the south end will also be built after the east is completed.” According to the team website, the stadium will eventually seat 33,333 fans.
The stadium is also getting brand new turf. The field is being leveled and will have Revolution 360 turf by FieldTurf installed. The old turf will be recycled, going to Club Tijuana soccer schools throughout the region. This is the same turf used by Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL and Atlanta United of MLS). I asked Rob Usry of Dirty South Soccer about the Atlanta turf, and he said “I can tell you that it’s been fine from my perspective. Games play very nicely. Haven’t heard any complaints from opponents or from our players other than the boring ‘but they play on turf’ (argument).”
Xolos Femenil will be playing in Group 1 in the 2018-19 Liga MX Femenil season. Group 1 is largely unchanged although Morelia is now in Group 2, and is replaced with newcomers Lobos BUAP and Puebla.
Xolos U14 is competing in the Nexen Manchester City Cup and
defeated the San Jose Earthquakes U14s 1-0 on Thursday thanks to a goal in the 29th minute by Carlos Galicia.
Xolos U14s would also defeat Manchester City 1-0 shortly after downing the Quakes thanks to this header by Victor Iñiguez in the 20th minute.
According to a press release, both General Manager Fernando Arce and former player Yasser Corona were in attendance of the match. On Friday, the Xolos U14s lost to Strikers Irvine FC (California) by a score of 2-0 and drew the Seattle Sounders U14s 1-1. They’ll face the Girona FC U14s in the semifinals at 3:00 PM PDT (6:00 PM EDT) today.