Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club León
Date: Wednesday, May 8th
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.)
Radio: 98.9 FM (Tijuana/San Diego), 106.7 FM (Calexico/Mexicali)
All-time record: Tijuana holds the all time record in Liga MX play, winning six to León’s five with the clubs drawing three times. Tijuana also holds the record when the clubs were in the Ascenso, with Xolos winning three to La Fiera’s two with four draws between them. In playoff scenarios, Tijuana lost the 2007 Apertura Quarterfinals, beat León in the 2011 Clausura Semifinals, beat them again in the 2012 Apertura Semifinals, and lost to them in the 2016 Apertura Quarterfinals.
One of Liga MX’s newest rivalries will write a new chapter in the 2019 Clausura Liguilla with Tijuana facing off against León. The series starts in Tijuana on Wednesday and moves to Guanjuato on Saturday. Neither team will take this series lightly. In a press conference on Monday, Tijuana captain Diego “Torito” Rodríguez said “We are aware that this is a Clásico for the fans and we are going to defend them on the field. We will live it like a Clásico and we expect to get a good result in this first leg.”
Tijuana fought hard just to make it in to the Liguilla, winning their last two games to make it into the playoffs after stumbling a bit down the stretch. Xolos’ offense has been clicking as of late, with Gustavo Bou and Ariel Nahuelpán winning Player of the Week honors from Liga MX English journalists and broadcasters in Weeks 16 and 17 respectively.
Xolos were able to win those two games in part to their ability to goad the opposition into committing fouls. Both Morelia and Puebla finished their matches down a player, and to their credit Tijuana was able to really finish the job when they had the advantage. It hasn’t always been pretty, but it has been effective.
León come in to this series perhaps unfairly labeled as an underdog. After all they were the team that went on an unprecedented 12 game win streak in Liga MX thanks in part to Ángel Mena’s league-best 14 goals. La Fiera scored more and allowed fewer goals than any other team in Liga MX, ending the season with a mind-boggling +27 goal differential.
They were also however the team that lost to a rather dismal Chivas side in Week 16 to end their winning streak and didn’t look convincing in their 2-1 win over Pachuca in the final week of the season. To add more intrigue, the loss prior to the start of the streak was to none other than Club Tijuana at the Nou Camp in Week 3.
Both of these teams can beat anyone in the league on a given day and both could lose on any given day as well.