Game: Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, August 31st
Time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Central, 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 10:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Victoria (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Referees: REF: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Jose de Jesus Baños Caballero, 4TH: Oscar Mejia Garcia
All-time record: Tijuana leads the all-time series with eight wins to Necaxa’s four with three draws between them. Xolos holds a three wins to two advantage with one draw in Liga MX play, while it’s Los Rayos with a two wins to one with one draw advantage in the Ascenso MX. Xolos have never lost to Necaxa in the Copa MX tournament, with Tijuana winning four and drawing only once, although that draw saw Necaxa advance 6-5 on penalties in the 2016 Clausura quarterfinal.
The last time the clubs met, Tijuana won a 2-1 thriller in stoppage time, with Gustavo Bou converting a penalty to get all three points for Tijuana at Estadio Victoria.
Necaxa (3W 2D 2L) is unbeaten in three and is quickly establishing themselves as a potential spoiler in the Liguilla. They’ll host Tijuana (3W 1D 2L), who are coming off of a come from behind victory in stoppage against Cruz Azul (2W 3D 2L) that has the potential to set the tone for the rest of their season.
Necaxa has looked strong recently, making waves when they became the first team to beat a previously perfect Santos Laguna (5W 1D 1L) team back in Week 5. Maximiliano Salas has five goals in seven games, tying him with Julio Furch for second in the league behind José Juan Macías. Mauro Quiroga also has three goals and the club as a whole has 14 on the season, but it’s not all offensive. Perhaps the most impressive feat of their win against Santos was that they shut out a team that still has the most goals for in the league. Necaxa’s only allowed seven goals in their seven games and have only conceded once while at home.
Tijuana however is coming off of an impressive come from behind win against Cruz Azul. Thoroughly outplayed in the first half, they were able to come back from a 2-1 deficit when Adrián Aldrete was sent off in the 55th minute and get a goal from Kevin Balanta in the 62nd minute and a stoppage time winner from none other than Erick “Cubo” Torres.
This win has the potential to be a turning point in the season for Tijuana. While they’ve been up and down so far this season, a win like that will hopefully give them the confidence that they can compete with any and every team they face. Necaxa will present challenges, and Xolos may not get the luxury of going up a player like they did against Cruz Azul, however if they can retain possession, not commit bad fouls, and finish their chances, they’ll be just fine.
They’ll need to concentrate more on the defensive side of the ball against Necaxa, especially considering how much of a home field advantage Estadio Victoria has been for Los Rayos. Santos’ critical mistake was conceding a goal early and then trying to go on the offensive when much like Tijuana their scheme is designed to counterattack. Xolos need to drop players back and finish any opportunities they get if they’re going to come out with a win.