Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club de Fútbol Pachuca
Date: Saturday, September 22nd
Time: 10:06 p.m. Eastern, 9:06 p.m. Central, 7:06 p.m. Pacific, 2:06 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Referees: REF: Oscar Macías Romo, AR1: Alejandro Ayala Valderrama, AR2: Jorge Gerardo Dávila Cervantes, 4TH: Arturo Cruz Hurtado
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: In their fourteen previous meetings in Liga MX, Tijuana has won five, Pachuca has won four, and the clubs have drawn five times.
Winning ugly is still winning, and no matter how ugly the match against Atlas (0W 2D 7L) was, Club Tijuana (3W 3D 3L) came home from Guadalajara with three points. Luis Fuentes’ goal in the 56th minute secured Xolos’ second straight win - and perhaps salvaged the Liguilla aspirations of the Aztec Canines. They’ll face off against a Pachuca (3W 3D 3L) team that is looking to define themselves after seeing Erick Gutíerrez head off to PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Xolos’ win did not come without a cost however. Midfielder Luis Chávez rolled his ankle and will miss the match, as will center back and captain Juan Carlos “Topo” Valenzuela, who picked up a controversial red card against Atlas. Chávez came on as a sub for Fabián Castillo and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Castillo get another start in the midfield. Look for Gustavo Canto to get the start for Topo, while Gibran Lajud will most likely wear the captain’s armband.
Pachuca lost the first three matches of the 2018 Apertura but have been unbeaten in their last six, thanks in large part to their offense. They’ve failed to score in just two of the six games, electing to focus instead on their defensive responsibilities against Pumas (5W 2D 2L) and Santos Laguna (5W 2D 2L). Argentinian striker Franco Jara has four goals on the season, while Víctor Guzmán has three for Los Tuzos. Canto and Julián Velázquez will have their hands full with Jara, Guzmán, and Angelo Sagal. Look for midfielders Diego “Pulpo” González and (more likely) Diego Rodríguez to drop back and assist.
Watch the matchup between Pachuca right back Joaquin “Shaggy” Martínez and Miller Bolaños. Both men play physical soccer and Martínez loves to run up into the attack whenever possible. Bolaños usually drifts left before cutting back in centrally. If Bolaños can bait Shaggy into following him on one of his runs back inside, it will open up valuable space down the left for either Fabián Castillo or left back Fuentes to operate.