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Match preview: Toluca vs. Club Tijuana

Toluca needs a win to keep pace with the Liguilla race, while Tijuana will look to salvage some pride from this season.

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Toluca v Atletico San Luis - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Angel Castillo/Jam Media/Getty Images

Game: Deportivo Toluca Fútbol Club S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente

Date: Sunday, October 25th

Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 1:00 p.m. Central, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, 5:00 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca, Edomex)

Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, AR2: Miguel Angel Chua Ortiz, 4TH: Victor Alfonso Caceres Hernandez, VAR: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto, AVAR: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto

Television: United States - TUDN, Univision; Mexico - TUDN, ESPN 2; Canada - OneSoccer; Belize - ESPN 2; Costa Rica - ESPN 2, TUDN; Dominican Republic - ESPN 2; El Salvador - ESPN 2, TUDN; Guatemala - ESPN 2, TUDN; Honduras - ESPN 2, TUDN; Nicaragua - ESPN 2, TUDN; Panama - ESPN 2

Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), TUDN En Vivo

All-time record: Toluca holds the slight edge across all competitions. winning twelve to Xolos’ eleven while drawing seven times. Toluca holds a three games to two advantage in the Copa MX, with the clubs drawing once. The clubs are even in Liga MX play, with each club winning nine with six games split between the two. The clubs drew 1-1 in their last meeting at Estadio Caliente on February 7, with Alexis Castro and Michael Estrada getting goals for Tijuana and Toluca respectively. The last time they met in Estadio Nemesio Díez, Toluca got an autogol from Diego Braghieri and a goal from Alexis Canelo as they won 2-0. Tijuana has won when it counts though, getting their only star by defeating Toluca 4-1 on aggregate in the 2012 Apertura Final.

Tijuana v Monterrey - Final Copa MX
It’s been a long season for Pablo Guede and Tijuana.
Photo by Carlos Heredia/Getty Images

Club Tijuana (4W 2D 8L) is still in the playoff race, tied on points with FC Juárez (3W 5D 6L) but behind in goal differential for twelfth place in the league. Toluca (5W 2D 7L) meanwhile is looking to get as high a position as possible, and could leapfrog Santos Laguna (5W 4D 5L) into ninth place when they host Xolos on Sunday afternoon.

Xolos are still in the Liguilla picture despite Jonathan Orozco and the defense letting in a whopping 21 goals in 14 games this season. This is antithesis to manager Pablo Guede’s defense-first system, and they need to quickly stop the bleeding somehow. As bad as the defensive woes have been however, the offense has been somehow worse. The offense has only scored seven goals from the run of play this season. Luis Leal was brought in last month to help shore up the offense, but has yet to score a goal.

They’ll have to also do it after starting most of their normal starting eleven on Wednesday night against Monterrey in the Copa MX Final Ida match. While they were able to stay in Tijuana for that match, they did go down in the first leg 1-0 to Rayados before flying to Toluca on Friday afternoon.

Toluca v Pachuca - Copa MX 2020
Alexis Canelo leads Toluca in scoring with five goals so far on the season.
Photo by Angel Castillo/Jam Media/Getty Images

Toluca will come in having lost a close 1-0 match to Pumas in CU last Sunday. Toluca has looked fairly dangerous at times this season, and Alexis Canelo has five of the team’s seventeen goals this season. They also have the ageless wonder Rubens Sambueza, who at 36 years old doesn’t score as much as he used to but contributes to his team nonetheless. Whether selling a foul in free kick territory or being an irritant and throwing players off of their game, his impact often goes beyond goals and assists.

Tijuana shouldn’t be discounted however. Both teams are capable of playing well, and Tijuana has some good pieces in place. But going into Estadio Nemesio Díez and getting a win under the noon sun at 8,750 feet above sea level isn’t an easy ask for any team.