Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
Date: Saturday, January 12th
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 Macías Romo, AR1: Israel Valenciano Torres, AR2: Eduardo Acosta Orea, 4TH: Guillermo Pacheco Larios
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
Television: United States - Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports 1, FOX Deportes Network (upon completion of the Los Angeles Rams - Dallas Cowboys game); Mexico - Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), MOREFM Online.com (Audio only) Listings for effectively every game in every country can be found here.
All-time record: Tigres holds the all-time record in this series, winning seven to Xolos’ three. The clubs have drawn five times - all in Liga MX play. Tijuana has lost five straight to Tigres, their last win coming way back in the 2016 Clausura when they won 2-1 at El Volcán. Xolos last win in Tijuana against Tigres came back in the 2012 Apertura - Alfredo Moreno and Fernando Arce scored for the home side.
In his weekly press conference, Club Tijuana (0W 0D 1L) manager Óscar Pareja said “It is very important to get the three points and win at home because this is a short season.” He and his Xolos will need to be at their best as they host Tigres UANL (0W 1D 0L) Saturday night in Tijuana’s home opener - and Pareja’s first match in front of the crowd at the Mictlán.
Tijuana didn’t play poorly last time out against Chivas (1W 0D 0L), playing well until a mistake allowed an Alan Pulido goal in the 55th. They’d regroup, but gave up a second goal at the 90th minute while trying to push forward and get an equalizer. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud looked like his old self, and new center back Diego Braghieri paired well with Julián Velázquez. Fabián Castillo and Antonio Nava both looked dangerous on the wings, and the rest of the midfield was solid.
Xolos’ troubles in front of the goal unfortunately continued as Juan Martín Lucero failed to score in his 15th straight appearance, pushing his goalless drought to a staggering 911 minutes. Xolos’ only other options up top are Erick Torres (who scored one goal in 665 minutes last season) or an untested but promising U20s player Daniel López.
Hoping to extend Xolos’ goalless streak going well past the current 199 minutes is Tigres, who come in on the heels of a thrilling 2-2 draw with León (0W 1D 0L). Reigning goal scoring champion André-Pierre Gignac would hit the point-salvaging goal from the spot in the 90th minute for his first of the season. Gignac spearheads a potent but aging front three with Javier Aquino and Luis Quiñones, and this trio will put Xolos’ defense to the test.
Tigres defense may be its weakness, as they gave up two a León side who also struggled offensively last season and didn’t upgrade significantly during the offseason. 20 year old Jair Díaz started at left back for Jorge Torres Nilo, who is still a couple weeks away from returning from injury. The defense struggled mightily, allowing a total of 14 shots to León.
If Xolos can repeat that feat, they could possibly end their scoring woes and start their climb back to the top of the table. Otherwise Tigres could be extending their dominance over the Aztec Canines.