Game: Club León Fútbol Club vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Sunday, January 20th
Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio León (León, Gto)
Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, AR2: Enrique Martìnez Sandoval, 4TH: Roberto Rios Jácome
All-time record: These two teams have a long history dating back to when both were in the Ascenso MX. Tijuana holds the Ascenso record, winning three times to León’s two while the teams drew four. In Liga MX play the series is even, with both teams winning five times and drawing three. And in the playoffs, the teams have split the four series they’ve played. The last meeting was at Estadio Caliente and the teams drew 1-1. The last meeting at the Nou Camp was in the 2018 Clausura and the teams again drew 1-1.
Club Tijuana (0W 0D 2L) will head into the belly of the beast as they go to Guanjuato to face arch-rivals Club León (0W 2D 0L). These two teams have a long history with one another, and this game will be yet another chapter written into that book.
Xolos have floundered so far this season, with a largely listless offense scoring zero goals and getting zero points in the process. The club has a total of six shots on goal across the two games they’ve played, and forward Fabián Castillo is out with an injury.
These fortunes may be on the verge of changing however, with striker Gustavo Bou returning from a spell with Racing Club in Argentina to help bolster the offense. Bou had a good partnership with Miller Bolaños during his last stint with Tijuana, and if he can get on the same page as wingers Eryc Castillo and (a healthy) Fabián Castillo it could be just what Tijuana needs to break out of their current malaise.
León has drawn both of their games 2-2, and both games also saw goals scored deep into stoppage time. In the first match against Monterrey (1W 1D 0L) Andrés Mosquera was the hero for La Fiera, scoring a goal to end the game. In the second match against Tigres (1W 1D 0L), it would be André-Pierre Gignac converting a penalty four minutes into stoppage that would knot the game.
León’s issue is the opposite of Tijuana’s. While Xolos can’t score, León has allowed four goals in two games and allowed 23 in 17 games last season. León brought in goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota from Chivas to replace the beleaguered William Yarbrough, but both Cota and Yarbrough can only do so much with the porous defense in front of them.
Rivalry games have a tendency to bring the best out of both teams, and this shoudld be no exception. It could be the game that sees Tijuana finally break through offensively or the one that sees León’s defense step up and keep the scores low.