Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club Deportivo Guadalajara S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, July 21st
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 Antonio Pérez Durán, AR1: Alberto Morin Méndez, AR2: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, 4TH: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures
Television: United States - Fox Sports San Diego, FOX Deportes, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports 1, FOX Sports San Diego, FOX Sports Arizona; Mexico - FOX Play Latin America, Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte
Xolos hold a commanding lead in the all-time series against Chivas, winning eight times, losing twice, and drawing four in Liga MX play. Xolos won the last regular-season match by a 3-0 margin. The last time Chivas won was at Estadio Akron the 2017 Apertura by a 3-1 scoreline. The last time the Goats won in Tijuana? The 2011 Apertura - Xolos’ first in the first division.
Both Tijuana and Chivas start the season having undergone significant roster changes. During the summer Xolos saw re-tooled their squad, sending the likes of Pablo Aguilar, Ignacio Malcorra, and Gustavo Bou packing while bringing in Eryc Castillo, Erick Torres, and Diego Gonzalez. Expect only a few of last years’ more regular starting eleven to get the nod in tonight’s match.
While there has been some flux as always for Xolos, Diego Cocca’s defensive-minded approach will serve the team well. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud played himself into the fringes of the Mexico National Team last season and will look to improve upon that performance after an offseason stunted by recovering from a broken finger. In front of him will be holdovers Damián Pérez and Juan Carlos Valenzuela along with newcomers Julián Velázquez from Cruz Azul and Luis Fuentes from Pumas. The midfield is full of options, with the aforementioned Castillo and Pulpo joining Julio Angulo, Ignacio Rivero, Rubio Rubin, and Miller Bolaños all competing for minutes. Bolaños will miss the first two games of the Liga MX 2018 Apertura due to a suspension picked up in Xolos’ last match against Toluca FC.
The forward position is where it gets a little thin for Xolos however. Without Gustavo Bou, Juan Martín Lucero and Cubo Torres will have to shoulder the load. Xolos most likely isn’t going out on the transfer market to bring in a high-priced striker, so the scoring will have to come from them.
Chivas also underwent a thorough makeover during the offseason, picking up Raúl Gudiño on loan, Ángel Sepúlveda from Monarcas Morelia, and Josecarlos Van Rankin from Pumas while recalling Mario de Luna, Miguel Ponce, and Alejandro Zendejas from their loan spells. This will need to offset the loss of notables such as Oswaldo Alanís, Rodolfo Pizarro, Ronaldo Cisneros, Rodolfo Cota, and Carlos Salcedo.
That’s just player turnover. Chivas must also deal with the loss of manager Matías Almeyda, who won the Concacaf Champions League but also had a dismal season in the 2018 Clausura thanks to injuries and a rumored dispute with management that resulted in players not being paid. Nevertheless,Almeyda’s star is still rising and he is linked to jobs with the national teams of Mexico, Argentina, and the United States. As for Chivas though, even the most die-hard fans are expecting a rebuilding year for the Goats.
This will be a particularly historic match, as this will be the first Liga MX match broadcast on television in English in the United States since 2014 when games were shown on ESPN 2 and ESPN News. FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports San Diego, and FOX Sports 1 will be broadcasting the match, having committed to broadcasting nine Xolos matches throughout the season.