Los Bravos de FC Juárez will open up their 5th Copa MX campaign by hosting fellow frontera squad Xolos de Club Tijuana. This will be FC Juárez’s first participation in the tournament since former coach Miguel de Jesús Fuentes made controversial remarks about the importance of the Copa MX before his squad travelled to Puebla to take on Lobos BUAP. Instead of fielding their usual starting lineup for the midweek Copa MX clash, los Bravos fielded a squad of mostly cantera products with about three first team players who didn’t see a lot of game action. It will be interesting to see how much new coach Gabriel Cabellero values the Copa MX and the type of team he fields on Wednesday night.
Both squads come into Wednesday night’s Copa MX clash on the back of home victories in their first matches of the 2018 Apertura season. Tijuana defeated Chivas de Guadalajara by a scoreline of 2-1 behind goals from Juan Lucero and Ignacio Rivera. Despite coming away from the match victorious, Xolos didn’t look very convincing. The club’s head coach Diego Coca prioritizes a strong defense and his team displayed anything but that during the match. If it weren’t for some heroic saves by Mexican goalkeeper Gibran Lajud and poor finishing from Chivas, Club Tijuana could easily have found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline.
In their first match of the 2018 Ascenso MX Apertura season, los Bravos de FC Juárez defeated Alebrijes de Oaxaca 1-0 on a 90+7 minute goal from Lucas Xavier. The goal came off of a free kick in which Lucas Xavier’s shot rolled underneath the jumping defensive wall and just past the keepers outstretched arms into the bottom left corner or the net. Much like Xolos, FC Juárez wasn’t very convincing despite coming away with the victory. The scoreline of the match could easily have been 4-4 if it weren't for very sloppy finishing from both teams over the course of the match.
Tijuana striker Miller Bolaños who was suspended for the first two Liga MX matches for violently stomping on Toluca’s Rubens Sabueza during the second leg of the club’s liguilla clash could see action on Wednesday night. It is unclear if his suspension applies to the Copa MX or just regular league games. If his suspension doesn’t include Copa MX games, look for Xolo’s head coach Diego Coca to try and get one of his better goalscoring threat some in game action. Last season Bolaños played in 28 matches scoring 9 goals and notching 1 assist.
Depending on how seriously they take this game, FC Juárez could pose a threat to upset los Xolos despite seeming to have an inferior squad on paper. When playing with a full strength or close to full strength squad in the Copa MX, los Bravos have caused problems for Liga MX teams like Monterrey and Chivas.
FC Juárez and Club Tijuana have only met once previously in the short history of both clubs. The friendly match, played last summer in Ciudad Juárez, was easily won 4-2 by Xolos. Both clubs played with heavily rotated squad and the class of the LIga MX outfit didn’t take long to show. After 3 minutes Xolos were in the lead following a goal from Alejandro Guido. The match didn’t get any better for FC Juárez as they fell behind 4-0 before pulling back two late goals towards the end of the match. Los Bravos will be hoping to avoid a similar result on Wednesday night.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM 2018 Copa MX
Date: Tuesday, July 24
Time: 7:00pm Pacific, 9:00pm Central, 10:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
TV: ESPN2 (Mexico)