Game: Atlético Morelia S. A. de C. V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Friday, April 26th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Morelos (Morelia, Mich.)
Referees: REF: Oscar Macías Romo, AR1: Cesar Cerritos García, AR2: Jorge Gerardo Dávila Cervantes, 4TH: Luis Daniel Chavez Leon
All-time record: Morelia leads the series with six wins to Tijuana’s four, while the clubs have drawn five times in Liga MX play. They have met three times in Copa MX play - all three times in the knockout rounds - with Morelia winning once, Tijuana winning once, and the clubs tying with Tijuana advancing on penalties. The clubs also met in the 2017 Clausura Liguilla Quarterfinals, with Xolos advancing 2-1.
After a poor showing at home against Lobos BUAP (6W 2D 7L) last week, Tijuana (7W 1D 7L) heads to Morelia to face Monarcas (2W 6D 7L) in the late game on Friday. Just one point separates Xolos and Puebla (6W 5D 4L) for the eighth and final spot in the Liguilla, and with Puebla hosting Tigres (10W 3D 2L) in the early game on Friday Tijuana may already know whether or not they’ll be able to leapfrog Puebla or if they’ll need help from Santos Laguna (5W 4D 6L) to keep Club América (7W 2D 6L) from keeping pace with the Liguilla chase.
Provided they can beat Monarcas.
Tijuana has not been great on the road this season, losing five of their eight away from Estadio Caliente. They’ve been outscored 11-4 and have been shut out in all five losses. Gustavo Bou (2 goals on the road) and Miller Bolaños (1 goal on the road) are the only Xolos to score on the road this season. If Ariel Nahuelpán can replicate his home form and Tijuana can get some improved performances from Fabián Castillo and young players such as Antonio Nava and Daniel López, this could be a formidable team no matter where they play.
They’ll be facing a Monarcas side that has been ravaged by injuries in the latter portion of this season. Goalkeeper Sebastián Sosa went out on April 4 with a muscular injury to his right wrist, and a day later they’d lose Ray Sandoval from six to eight months when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Still Monarcas has performed well, drawing their two away matches against Puebla and Tigres and winning the home match against Chivas (4W 3D 8L). Luís Malagón has been serviceable in Sosa’s absence, and Cándido Ramírez has filled in admirably for Sandoval.
Still, the win against Chivas was only Morelia’s second of the season and Monarcas have been eliminated from playoff contention. Tijuana’s playoff chances may rest on whether or not they can correct their road form and take advantage of Morelia.