Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Fútbol Club Atlas
Date: Friday, March 1st
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: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán, AR1: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, AR2: Israel Valenciano Torres, 4TH: Jonathan Hernandez Juarez
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego)
All-time record: In Liga MX play Tijuana holds the slight advantage, having won five to Atlas’ three while the clubs have drawn eight times. They’ve also met three times in the Copa MX, with each side winning one and the clubs drawing once as well (which resulted in Atlas advancing 5-4 on penalties). In their last meeting, Xolos beat Atlas 1-0 in Estadio Jalisco. Their last meeting at Estadio Caliente came in the 2018 Clausura, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Club Tijuana (4W 1D 3L) is one of the hottest teams in Mexico, going unbeaten throughout the month of February. They have gone from near the bottom of the table in Liga MX and in real danger of not advancing out of the group stage in the Copa MX tournament to seventh place in the league and into the quarterfinals in the Copa.
Everything seems to be clicking for Tijuana. The return of Gustavo Bou and the acquisition of Ariel Nahuelpán has not only given the Aztec Canines the goalscoring threat they lacked in the Apertura, but has also seemed to have given the defense more confidence. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud gave up just two goals in four appearances, and over the seven games the team gave up just four goals.
They’ll host Atlas (3W 1D 4L), who much like Tijuana, bear no resemblance to the team from the Apertura. They’ve tied their goal output from the 2018 Apertura heading into Week 9, and look like a more confident and cohesive unit than last season.
That said,the improvement may not be enough. Atlas have lost their last three Liga MX matches by a combined score of 6-1, and haven’t won in league play since February 1st. Couple that with Atlas’ loss in penalties to Dorados in the Copa MX, and manager Ángel Guillermo Hoyos may start to be feeling the heat.
Still, this is a team that Tijuana can’t afford to take lightly. Atlas have talent on their roster, and if given the opportunity they can put it all together and get points. No team seems to be harder to do that against however than Tijuana.