Game: Fútbol Club Juárez vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Friday, January 15th
Time: 10:30 p.m. Eastern, 9:30 p.m. Central, 7:30 p.m. Pacific, 3:30 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez (Ciudad Juárez, Chih.)
Referees: REF: Eduardo Galvan Basulto, AR1: Miguel Ángel Hernández Paredes, AR2: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, 4TH: Victor Alfonso Caceres Hernandez, VAR: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AVAR: Carlos Ayala Cuéllar
All-time record: Tijuana holds the all time record, winning twice, drawing once, and losing once to Los Bravos. Each team has one once in Liga MX play, with Xolos winning once and the teams drawing once in the 2018 Apertura Copa MX tournament. The last time the clubs met, Tijuana won 2-1 at Estadio Caliente on September 30, 2020 on goals from Bryan Angulo and Gerson Vázquez. The last time they met in Juárez, Los Bravos won 3-0 on November 3, 2019 on goals from Diego Rolán, Leandro Carrijó, and Jefferson Intriago.
FC Juárez (0W 1D 0L) will be on short rest but will have the home field advantage as they host fellow border club Club Tijuana (0W 1D 0L) this Friday night. Juárez played a 1-1 draw against Pachuca on Monday, so the travel back to the border and the short rest may lend itself for some heavy legs. Xolos played a 0-0 draw against Pumas on Friday in Tijuana.
Juárez is largely unchanged from last season, although they did pick up Andrés Iniestra from Pumas, Ayron del Valle from Millonarios in Colombia, and Luis Pavez from Unión Española in Chile. Iniestra was subbed in at halftime for young Francisco Contreras while del Valle was in the gameday roster. It remains to be seen how these players will impact the overall makeup of the team.
Juárez already had a decent enough team, with the likes of Marco Fabián and Dario Lezcano, whose 10 goals on the season tied him with Juan Ignacio Dinenno for third place in the league despite playing 200 minutes less than Dinenno. The issue was that there were only six goals that didn’t come from Lezcano last season, and the team’s 16 goals was only marginally better than Tijuana’s league-low 12.
In their first outing of 2021 Tijuana looked decent but had plenty of room for improvement, especially on the offensive side of the ball. New arrival Mauro Manotas looked dangerous at times, and Miguel Sansores had some flashes of brilliance in the match against Pumas. The chemistry between the two as well as Fabian Castillo and the midfield is still very much a work in progress, but the potential for the three of them is vast.
Tijuana will need to keep organized on the defensive end of the ball. Juárez will probably prove a tougher challenge than Pumas, so dropping players back to help out the back line should be of the utmost importance. If Xolos can retain their defensive focus and convert the chances they get with greater regularity, they’ll be doing themselves a huge favor against a tough road opponent.