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Match preview: Club Tijuana vs. Toluca

Two unbeaten teams with differing styles meet at the Mictlán as Xolos host Toluca.

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Club Tijuana v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Francisco Vega/Getty Images

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

Date: Saturday, January 6th

Time: 10:06 p.m. Eastern, 9:06 p.m. Central, 7:06 p.m. Pacific, 3:06 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.) Mexican state abbreviations available here

Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Jose De Jesus Baños Caballero, AR2: Jonathan Maximiliano Gómez, 4TH: Áxel Meza Méndez, VAR: Juan Joel Rangel Maya, AVAR: Christian Adrián Ramírez Tejeda

Television: United States - FS1, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - Fox Sports 2; Belize - FOX Sports 2; Costa Rica - FOX Sports 2; Dominican Republic - FOX Sports 2; El Salvador - FOX Sports 2; Guatemala - FOX Sports 2; Honduras - FOX Sports 2; Nicaragua - FOX Sports 2; Panama - FOX Sports 2; Venezuela - FOX Sports 2

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

All-time record: Toluca holds the slight edge across all competitions. winning thirteen to Xolos’ eleven while drawing seven times. Toluca holds a three games to two advantage in the Copa MX, with the clubs drawing once. Toluca also leads in Liga MX play, with ten wins to Tijuana’s 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 however, Toluca got a 2-0 win at Estadio Nemesio Díez thanks to goals from Rubens Sambueza and Jonatan Maidana. Tijuana has won when it counts though, getting their only star by defeating Toluca 4-1 on aggregate in the 2012 Apertura Final.

Club Tijuana v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Pablo Guede’s Tijuana side has yet to concede a goal in 2021.
Photo by Francisco Vega/Getty Images

After their first road win in Liga MX play since October 30, 2019, Club Tijuana (1W 2D 0L) finds themselves in the top half of the table, an unfamiliar place after a difficult past couple of seasons . They’ll need to keep the momentum going, as they’re set to host Toluca (2W 1D 0L), who themselves are in an unfamiliar place, sitting atop the table after a difficult past couple of seasons.

Tijuana’s gameplan was executed perfectly in their 1-0 win over Puebla (1W 1D 1L). They got a goal early by converting a penalty kick and were able to allow their defense to take control of the game. Look for a similar plan from Pablo Guede’s side, who along with Santos Laguna (2W 1D 0L) and Monterrey (2W 0D 0L) have not conceded a goal this season.

Chivas v Toluca - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Michael Estrada (L) and Kevin Castañeda lead Toluca with two goals each so far this season.
Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Toluca however will most likely not be playing a staid, conservative style of soccer. Their six goals in three games is more than any other team in the league by at least two goals coming into the match. Kevin Castañeda and Michael Estrada each have two goals while the club has only conceded two so far.

Toluca is a fairly balanced club philosophically, capable of dynamic offensive rushes while remaining responsible on the defensive end. Like most good clubs, they don’t commit a lot of dumb fouls or otherwise put themselves in poor positions too often.

If there’s a winner from this game, it will be the team that was able to take advantage of an opportunity first. Tijuana isn’t an easy place to play, even when Tijuana is having a bad season. They’ve been in relatively decent form, and it will be incumbent upon Toluca to be at their best if they’re going to be able to get any points.