Game: Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Friday, October 16th
Time: 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 7:30 p.m. Central, 5:30 p.m. Pacific, 12:30 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Victoria (Aguascalientes, Ags.)
Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Andres Hernández Delgado, AR2: Michel Caballero Galicia, 4TH: Jesus Roberto Ruiz Gonzalez, VAR: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AVAR: Jonathan Hernandez Juarez
All-time record: Tijuana leads the all-time series with eight wins to Necaxa’s five with three draws between them. The teams are even at three wins a piece 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, Necaxa won a wild 3-2 match in Aguascalientes. Ventura Alvarado, Maximiliano Salas, and Mauro Quiroga scored for Rayos while Xolos got goals from Vladimir Loroña and Ignacio Rivero.
In a year that has gone sideways, Tijuana (4W 2D 7L) is having a season that has gone sideways. Tipped by many early in the year to be a dark horse candidate to make some noise in the Liguilla, Xolos stumbled out of the gate and have largely been an afterthought in Liguilla conversations. But in a testament to how 2020 has gone, Xolos are within striking distance of a Liguilla spot despite having lost almost twice as many games (7) as they’ve won (4). They’re tied on points with Puebla F.C. (4W 2D 7L) and FC Juárez (3W 5D 5L) for the final Liguilla spot, their goal differential (-9) keeping them behind both Puebla (-2) and Juárez (-3) for the time being.
There’s still plenty of time left in this season, with three more weeks after this one, so nothing is set in stone just yet. And to be fair, Tijuana still has obstacles to overcome, including averaging less than a goal a game scored and a roster that’s largely unknown and unproven.
Xolos have a good opportunity to re-insert themselves into the Liguilla conversation as they travel to Aguascalientes to face Necaxa (3W 3D 7L). Necaxa is one of the few teams below Tijuana in the standings, having scored fewer goals (9) while allowing almost as many (18). They’ve struggled offensively, with no one player scoring more than two goals this season so far. They’ve struggled defensively, not getting consistent performances from the back line or goalkeeper Luis Malagón.
Both teams should come into this match looking at it as an opportunity to right the ship as the sun starts to set on another season. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that three points could help push either team into Liguilla considerations, but both teams will have some big obstacles to overcome in order to do this.