Game: Querétaro Fútbol Club vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, March 30th
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corregidora (Querétaro, Qro.)
Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: José Alfredo López Cruz, AR2: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, 4TH: Oscar Mejia Garcia
All-time record: In Liga MX play, Tijuana holds the slight edge with seven wins to Querétaro’s six with the clubs drawing twice. Querétaro holds the edge for when the teams were in the Ascenso MX, winning once and drawing once with Xolos way back in the 2007-08 season. That season was Xolos first season in their current incarnation after being Gallos de Tijuana - an affiliate of their opponents tonight. The 2008 Apertura was the only time the clubs met in the playoffs, and Querétaro won that series 3-2 on aggregate.
Last season, Querétaro made it into the Liguilla on the back of a 7W 5D 5L record while Tijuana finished in fifteenth place with a 4W 5D 8L record. This season has been a complete reversal of fortune for both teams. Tijuana has gotten off to a 6W 1D 4L start, currently sitting in fourth place and seeming controlling their Liguilla fortunes. Querétaro on the other hand is dead last in the league, their lone win coming in Week 8 against Monarcas Morelia.
Tijuana has looked like a complete team under manager Óscar Pareja. The defense has stepped up, and Gibran Lajud looks like the goalkeeper that was getting called into the Mexican National Team. The offense has also improved drastically, with Ariel Nahuelpán and Gustavo Bou overseeing a unit that has scored as many goals in 11 games as it did in all 17 in the Apertura.
Tijuana will also get a bit of an added boost with Fabián Castillo returning from injury. The added boost will come in handy, as Tijuana will face Club América twice next week - on Tuesday in Mexico City in the Copa MX semifinals and again on Saturday in Tijuana in Liga MX play.
Tijuana can’t afford to look past the task at hand though. Querétaro are a professional side and have some quality players - and as Monarcas found out, they are capable of winning a game against an opponent that doesn’t take them seriously. Camilo Sanvezzo has four of Querétaro’s seven goals and has notched 52 in his 112 Liga MX games. 18 year old midfielder Marcel Ruíz is another bright spot, making seven appearances for the first team despite his young age.
But Querétaro are severely lacking on defense and beyond Sanvezzo don’t offer much in the attack. While Tijuana must respect Los Gallos, this is a match that given their recent run of form they should win handily.