Game: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente vs. Mazatlán Futbol Club
Date: Sunday, April 11th
Time: 10:06 p.m. Eastern, 9:06 p.m. Central, 7:06 p.m. Pacific, 2:06 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Caliente (Tijuana, B.C.)
Referees: REF: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Christian Kiabek Espinosa Zavala, AR2: Edgar Magdaleno Castrejon, 4TH: Edgar Ulises Rangel Araujo, VAR: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AVAR: Manuel Ernesto Glower Guerra
Television: United States - FOX Sports 1, 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: The only time Xolos and Mazatlán have faced off was last season when Mazatlán beat Tijuana 1-0 on September 9 thanks to a goal from César Huerta. Against Mazatlán’s predecessors Monarcas Morelia, Xolos held the slight edge, winning nine to Monarcas’ eight with eight draws between them. The only times they met outside of Liga MX play was in the Copa MX, where Xolos won twice, Morelia once, and the clubs drew twice.
As recently as Week 7, Tijuana looked primed to be the dark horse candidate everyone had pegged them to be a couple of seasons back. They’ve since slid out of Liguilla contention and are now fighting for a home spot in the repechaje, however even those expectations are seeing doubt creep in. They’ll host Mazatlán, themselves desperately trying to claw their way into a repechaje berth
As always, the home field advantage for Tijuana will be the key, with the artificial turf playing faster and creating higher bounces and the long distance travel wearing out the minds and bodies of the opposition before they even set foot in the stadium.
For Tijuana to have a shot, they quite simply have to score first. They might be able to do just that against Mazatlán, who has conceded almost twice as many goals (20) as they have scored (12). Fernando Aristeguieta and former Xolo Camilo Sanvezzo are dangerous however, and the quickness of the artificial turf might turn into a benefit for the away team.
They key will be Mazatlán’s defense. If they can keep pace with Xolos’ forward corps of Fidel Martínez, Mauro Manotas, and Fabián Castillo long enough for Sanvezzo and Aristeguieta to put something together Los Cañoneros will be in decent shape. But if they allow too many breaks and too much space and time it could be another long day for Mazatlán.