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Match preview: Tijuana vs. Atlas

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Both Xolos and Atlas need points to strengthen their case for a spot in the Liguilla.

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Atletico San Luis v Tijuana - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Atlas Fútbol Club

Date: Saturday, October 5th

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: Diego Montaño Robles, AR1: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, AR2: Eduardo Acosta Orea, 4TH: Mario Humberto Vargas Mata

Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego), 106.7 FM (Calexico/Mexicali)

Television: United States - Fox Sports 2, ESPN Deportes, Fox 5 San Diego; Mexico - Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte

Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), ESPN+, FOX Sports GO, MOREFM Online.com (Audio only)

All-time record: Xolos holds the all time series record against Atlas, winning six to Atlas’ four with nine games ending in a draw. They’ve only met in Liga MX and Copa MX, the latter of which has seen the teams each win one while drawing once. The last time they met was back on March 1 in Estadio Caliente, when Tijuana won 3-1 thanks to a brace from Ariel Nahuelpán and a goal from Eryc Castillo while Osvaldo Martínez got the lone goal for Atlas.

Atletico San Luis v Tijuana - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX
Xolos got a rare road win last week. Can they continue a good run of form and earn a second straight Liguilla berth?
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Tijuana (5W 2D 4L) heads back to the friendly confines of Estadio Caliente on the heels of a rare road win, downing Atlético San Luis (4W 2D 5L) last weekend in San Luis Potosí. Xolos had been dreadful away from home, going just 1W 0D 4L prior to the match, but two goals from Ariel Nahuelpán and one more from Leonel Miranda was just enough to down Atleti 3-2.

Xolos have been good at home, going 3W 2D 0L in Tijuana. They’ve been able to stay within striking distance of a Liguilla spot despite giving up 21 goals (third worst in the league) while scoring 19 (tied for fifth best in the league). If they can work out some of the bugs on defense they may just be able to ride the home field advantage into the playoffs again much like they did last season.

FBL-MEX-ATLAS-TOLUCA
A stingy defense lead by former Santos Laguna center back Hugo Nervo has helped push Atlas onto the cusp of a Liguilla berth.
Photo credit should read ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images

Atlas (5W 2D 5L) has had quite the impressive turnaround and while also out of the playoffs sit just ahead of Tijuana in ninth place. They’ve been a shock to some, finishing in 13th place with a record of 6W 1D 10L last season. Their offseason acquisition by Grupo Orlegi, who also owns Santos Laguna and Tampico Madera injected some much needed life into a club that was moribund and seeming to be into a spiral into the Ascenso.

Over the offseason Atlas brought in Santos players Jesús Angulo, Hugo Nervo, and Javier Correa to bolster Leandro Cufré’s squad. While their 14 goals have them in twelfth place overall, the additions on defense have paid off as they’ve only allowed 13, which is tied for fourth best in the league. To put it into contrast, that is less than half the amount allowed last season (28) in about two-thirds of the games.

It will be interesting to see how Xolos offense works to overcome the Atlas defense. Xolos have shown fits and starts of being threatening on offense, but if they can put together a sustained attack for 90 minutes even Atlas will have difficulties. If Xolos can’t execute on what limited chances Atlas will concede, it could be a long night at the Mictlán for Tijuana.