Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Wednesday, August 22nd
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: Oscar Mejia Garcia, AR1: Marcos Quintero Huitron, AR2: Marco Antonio Bisguerra Mendiola, 4TH: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: Tijuana holds the series record with six wins to Santos’ two. The clubs have drawn six times. In their last meeting, Xolos won 2-0 at the Estadio Caliente.
Club Tijuana (1W 2D 2L) hasn’t won in their past four Liga MX matches. They’ll look to capitalize on a short week and the home-field advantage when red-hot Santos Laguna (4W 0D 1L) tonight at the Estadio Caliente. During the current run of form, Xolos has only scored two goals while allowing six.
Xolos were never going to score a huge amount of goals, but the forwards simply must be better in the attack and finish their chances. Juan Martín Lucero has one goal. Miller Bolaños, who missed two games, has one goal. Erick “Cubo” Torres has none. Unless these men - especially Lucero and Cubo - can step up their game, Xolos will continue to struggle.
Whie Gibran Lajud did not have his best game in the 3-0 loss to Toluca FC (3W 1D 1L), the defense around him must step up. Captain Juan Carlos Valenzuela will be critical, as Julián Velázquez missed the Toluca match injured and Hiram Muñoz will be unavailable due to the red card he picked up in Velázquez’ stead on Sunday.
They’ll be facing a Santos side that has scored ten goals in five games. Jonathan Rodríguez is tied with Necaxa’s Victor Dávila for the Liga MX lead with four goals. Immediately behind him with three goals is Julio Furch. The defending champions haven’t missed a beat, even with the well-documented loss of key players and their entire coaching staff resigning.
Santos still hasn’t won in Tijuana in Liga MX play since 2012, and Xolos have been better at home than the road. But these are two teams that have been headed in opposite directions lately. Tijuana will need to be at their best to measure up to the defending champions.