Game: Club de Fútbol Monterrey vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Sunday, February 28th
Time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Central, 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio BBVA (Guadalupe, N.L.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez, AR1: Christian Kiabek Espinosa Zavala, AR2: Enedina Caudillo Gómez, 4TH: Saul Alfredo Silva Pineda, VAR: Gerardo Martínez Bravo, AVAR: Manuel Ernesto Glower Guerra
Television: United States - Fox Sports 2, 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
All-time record: Monterrey holds the all time record across all competitions, winning ten to Xolos’ seven with the clubs drawing nine times. The last time the clubs met in league play, Xolos won 2-1 in Tijuana thanks to a brace from Fabián Castillo while Rogelio Funes Mori scored Rayados’ lone goal. The last time the teams played a league match in Monterrey, Rayados won 3-0 on goals from Funes Mori, Nicolás Sánchez, and Jesús Gallardo back on September 29, 2018. The clubs have met once outside of league play, when Monterrey won the 2020 Copa MX 2-1 on aggregate.
Tijuana (3W 3D 1L) was the last unbeaten team left in the league until they went to Monterrey last week and suffered a 3-2 loss to Tigres (3W 1D 2L) that belies how outmatched they were during the first 85 minutes of the game. They’ll head across town to Monterrey (3W 2D 1L) to face a Rayados team that is struggling offensively despite its roster.
Tijuana has not been struggling offensively, scoring ten goals in their seven games so far this season. To contrast, last season they had twelve through seventeen games. Fidel Martínez is leading this charge, contributing four of the ten goals so far. Mauro Manotas has also contributed two goals.
Xolos were one of the best teams in the league defensively-speaking, but the three goals allowed last week has dropped them to a tie for seventh in overall defense. It would be a bit harsh to judge them solely against their last outing however, and Pablo Guede’s defensive mentality has paid dividends this season.
Monterrey’s defense however has been almost airtight, allowing just two goals in their six games. Hugo González and the defense has faced down some of the leagues better offenses so far and shut down everyone but Santos (3W 3D 1L) and Necaxa (1W 3D 3L).
The bad news however is that no one is scoring for Monterrey. Five goals in six games has kept them competitive, but with the amount of talent up front it bears scrutiny why Rayados isn’t scoring more. If their defense falters in a game, they may be hard pressed to keep up at the current pace.
A bit of good news for Rayados is that Aké Loba is back in training after suffering an injury against Santos and may be an option up top. They may need him, as Rogelio Funes Mori is in doubt with an ankle injury and Vincent Janssen is most likely out with a fractured hand. Dorlan Pabón and Avilés Hurtado have been getting the majority of minutes up to alongside Alfonso Alvarado, who is part of Monterrey’s youth system.
This will be an interesting matchup seeing how these two teams fare against one another. There are a lot of similarities between them, as they both focus on defense and have explosive offenses. The differences will most likely be the deciding factor in this one.