Game: Club de Fútbol Pachuca vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, March 9th
Time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Central, 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 10:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Hidalgo (Pachuca, Hgo.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Jorge Gerardo Dávila Cervantes, 4TH: Brian Omar Gonzalez Veles
All-time record: In Liga MX play, Xolos hold the edge with six wins to Pachuca’s four while the clubs have also drawn five times. In Copa MX play, Pachuca beat Xolos 4-0 in the 2017 Apertura Quarterfinal, and the clubs each won once in the 2019 Clausura tournament.
Tijuana (5W 1D 3L) looks to extend their unbeaten streak to nine across all competitions when they face off against Pachuca (4W 2D 3L) in the early match today. Xolos last loss came all the way back on January 26th in a 1-0 loss to Cruz Azul at Estadio Azteca. Since then they’ve won four games in Liga MX play, once in Copa MX play, drew once in Copa MX play (which they won on penalties), and once in Liga MX play.
Xolos have been playing some of their best (and to be quite honest, most fun) soccer in years lately. It’s a team that has found its confidence along with its groove, scoring eleven goals in their last four games despite left wing play-maker Fabián Castillo missing the last 265 minutes of Liga MX play with an injury.
Everything is coming together at the right time. Ariel Nahuelpán had done everything but score in his first five matches for Tijuana before scoring a brace in their last time out. The offensive output of twelve goals is one shy of their total output from the Apertura - and they were shut out in the first two matches of the season. This has lightened the burden on the defense, and in turn has gotten better performances from goalkeeper Gibran Lajud and his back line.
While things are coming together for Tijuana, Pachuca has struggled. In their last two outings, they’ve lost 3-0 to Tigres UANL (7W 1D 1L) in Liga MX play and 5-2 to Club América in the Copa MX competition. In the loss to Tigres, two of the three goals were own goals by defender Stiven Barreiro. But Barreiro’s gaffes in the last match belie deeper issues with Pachuca’s defensive corps, which has allowed 14 goals on the season.
That said, they’ve still won four games in the Clausura and should not be taken lightly. Argentine forward Franco Jara leads the team with four goals, and they’ve shown flashes of competence at times during the season. They scored three goals on a slumping Chivas (4W 2D 3L) team two weeks ago, and three against Querétaro (1W 0D 8L) back in week two.
Tijuana isn’t either Chivas or Querétaro though. They’ve been playing great soccer, and Pachuca will need to be at their absolute best to get a result if Xolos continue playing as well as they have over the past month.