Game: Tigres UANL vs. Club León
Date: Saturday, July 21st
Time: 10:00 PM Eastern, 9:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Pacific, 2:00 AM UTC
Venue: Estadio Universitario (San Nicolás de las Garza, Nuevo León)
Television: United States - Univision Deportes Network; Mexico - TDN
Tigres UANL and their cast of star-studded players look to open up the Apertura 2018 in style as they host the new look Club León at El Volcán on Saturday night. Tigres will come into Saturday night’s matchup after pummeling Santos Laguna 4-0 in the Campeón de Campeones matchup in California last weekend. After a shaky start to the match, Tigres managed to outclass defending Liga MX champions Santos Laguna without very much effort. Tuca Feretti will be looking to continue this style of play as his team host Club León.
Los Panzas Verdes head into their first match of the 2018 Apertura tournament with a much different looking squad than that of last season. During the Liga MX draft, the club decided to sell arguably their best player in Elías Hernández to fellow Liga MX rival Cruz Azul. With the transfer, one of the most effective strike partnerships between Hernández and Argentinian striker Mauro Boselli came to an end. Club León will have to hope that new signing Yairo Moreno will be able to supply Boselli in a similar fashion as Elías Hernández. Las Esmeraldas also brought in several big name players like former Chivas goalkeeper Rodolfo Copa, Lobos BUAP holding midfielder Pedro Aquino, and center back William Tesillo who has been capped internationally by Colombia.
Tigres have largely kept the same players from last season. However, they made a significant midfield improvement by bringing Guido Pizarro back from Sevilla. In the Campeón de Campeones match against Santos, Pizarro’s first since returning to Tigres, the squad from la Sultana del Norte played with a swagger that had been missing since Pizarro departed for Spain. With Pizarro in the midfield, Tigres was able to dominate all aspects of the game. Passes were crisper, the midfield was more compact, and Tigres looked much more confident. Jürgen Damm looked like a new man out there on the pitch from his wingback position. The extra space he gained from playing wingback allowed the Mexican to blast by defenders and create more space for him to cross balls into the box.
The key to this exciting jornada 1 matchup will be whether or not Club León’s news and improved defense will be able to contain the attacking threat posed by a star-studded Tigres squad. If they can manage to make life uncomfortable for players like Pizarro, Gignac, and Valencia León might just have a chance to escape El Volcán with at least a point. However, they will also need a huge night from Mauro Boselli and some of the new boys on the offensive side of things if they want to have any hope of taking all three points back to León.