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Match preview: Tijuana vs. UANL Tigres

Xolos have looked good at home, but a strong Tigres team is coming to the Mictlán.

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Tijuana v Atlas - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Club Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

Date: Thursday, August 6th

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.)

Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Enrique Martìnez Sandova, 4TH: Jesus Rafael Lopez Valle, VAR: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AVAR: Fabrice Paul Plancon-jallet

Television: United States - FS1, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - Fox Sports

Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Free trial + monthly subscription)

All-time record: Tigres holds a decided advantage, winning ten to Xolos’ three with the clubs drawing six times, all in Liga MX play. The last time the clubs met was on September 13, 2019 when they tied 1-1 at Estadio Caliente. Tigres got a goal from Lucas Zelerayán in the 32nd minute but Miller Bolaños would salvage a draw for the hosts deep in stoppage.

Necaxa v Morelia - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX
Pablo Guede has a lot of very good players in Tijuana, but making them all fit could prove to be more difficult than it may seem at first glance.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

It’s a rare Thursday night league game as Tijuana (1W 0D 1L) hosts Tigres UANL (1W 1D 0L) at Estadio Caliente. Xolos looked good in their last game at the Mictlán, manhandling Atlas (0W 0D 1L) 3-1 thanks to goals from Miller Bolaños, Ariel Nahuelpán, and Jaime Gómez. As good as they performed against Los Zorros, they looked lost against Club América and were shellacked 4-0 at Estadio Olímpico Universitario.

So which Xolos are the real Xolos?

The answer probably lies somewhere in between. Atlas has been dismal and are very much a work in progress. América is one of the favorites to add another star to their jerseys, along with Cruz Azul (1W 1D 0L) and Tigres. Xolos are always a tough team at home, and the longer this team works together the more cohesive they become as a unit. Expect Pablo Guede’s team to look sharper than they did on Saturday.

Tigres UANL v FC Juarez - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX
As the side ages, the window for Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti (left) and André-Pierre Gignac to bring a Club World Cup to Tigres is closing.
Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

They’ll come up against a very good Tigres team that easily dispatched Necaxa (0W 0D 2D) by a 3-0 scoreline in Aguascalientes before getting a 1-1 draw at home against a very tough Pachuca (0W 1D 1L) side. André-Pierre Gignac already has two goals on the season, bringing his Liga MX total up to a mind-boggling 114 since joining Tigres back in 2015.

Tigres is an aging side but not an aged side. Gignac is 34 but playing like he’s 27. Nahuel Guzmán is also 34, which is prime years for a goalkeeper. Most of the other starters are around 30, which signifies this could be the last push for Tigres to win the league and then win the Concacaf Champions League and get a berth in the Club World Cup; the white whale to manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s Captain Ahab.

All this leads up to what should be an entertaining match. Gignac will give Xolos’ defense fits like he does to most teams that come up against him. The turf at Estadio Caliente isn’t kind to the bodies of older players, and playing on short rest after a three hour flight to the west coast is equally as unkind. Xolos have the pieces to be explosive on offense, and if Tigres shows any signs of fatigue it could be disastrous for the visitors.