Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club Deportivo Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz
Date: Friday, February 15th
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: Enríque Isaac Bustos Díaz, AR2: Telly Salvador Saldivar Guzman, 4TH: Luis Daniel Chavez Leon
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: In Liga MX play Veracruz holds the edge, having won five matches to Xolos three with three draws between them. Xolos history with Veracruz however dates back to the Ascenso, where Xolos have won two to Tiburones one with one draw between them. They also met in the playoffs in the Ascenso in the 2010 Apertura Final. Xolos would win the series 3-0 en route to being promoted to Liga MX.
Tijuana (2W 1D 3L) returns home for what was once a routine occurrence - a Friday evening match at Estadio Caliente. They do so on the heels of an unbeaten streak, something equally as rare in recent memory. With a home win against Toluca (2W 1D 3L) and a draw away against Santos Laguna (2W 2D 2L), Xolos will look to extend this good run of form against Veracruz (0W 2D 4L) and get their first three game unbeaten streak since August 31 through September 22, 2018.
Tijuana risen from last in Liga MX in Week 2 to a respectable 13th heading into Week 7, just two points behind Club América (3W 0D 2L) for eighth place and a Liguilla berth. The addition of Gustavo Bou and Ariel Nahuelpán as well as Fabián Castillo returning to health has been a boon to Óscar Pareja and Xolos. Perhaps no player has reaped the benefits of this resurgence as Miller Bolaños, as the Ecuadoran has two goals over the last two games.
The resurgent Tijuana offense will run up against a Veracruz defense that hasn’t been all that bad. They’ve conceded just six goals this season, with goalkeeper Sebastián Jurado turning in fantastic performances week after week. In front of Jurado, manager Robert Dante Siboldi has been using a five man back line often composed of Carlos Gutiérrez, Fabricio Silva, Edson García, Jesús Paganoni, and Lampros Kontogiannis. Kontogiannis will miss the match having picked up a second yellow card in their match against Tigres UANL (4W 1D 1L).
While Veracruz’ defense has been good, its offense has not. Veracruz is the only team to still not have scored a goal in 2019. Forwards Colin Kazim-Richards and Cristian “Polaco” Menéndez simply have to do better in front of goal, especially with Veracruz sitting at the bottom of the Tabla Cociente to determine relegation.