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Match Preview: Tijuana vs Pumas

Xolos of Tijuana get ready to return to action as they get a visit from Pumas on Saturday.

Pumas UNAM v Club Tijuana - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Tijuana and Pumas return to action after the FIFA break with a match that will be key for both teams as they face different starts to their season. Pumas hopes to get back on track after a great start that had them in first place up, until they lost a last minute game at home against Tigres. Pumas however still sits in a comfy third place on the table. Xolos on the other hand have had another bad start with two losses and just a single point courtesy of their tie at home against Leon. Yet hosting the game might give them a boost to get things back on track against a team that struggles in that stadium.

Under Coach Sebastian Mendez, Tijuana has not changed their negative streak from past seasons. Once again they had a bad start to their season after a loss against Cruz Azul. Things picked up in getting a tie against Leon, who came in as the Liga MX finalist last season, but after a COVID-19 outbreak in the club caused their match against Puebla to be moved a week after, they ended up losing 3-1 away against them. Thus while Xolos was the only team besides Puebla to play during the FIFA break, they were the only team to lose. Now Tijuana returns home but faces a Pumas team that had a great start but has struggled there before. The artificial field and long distance travel has given trouble to a lot of teams, and Pumas is one of them, Tijuana will need to step up however because although they lost away to two good teams, their recent performances don’t bring up a lot of optimism.

After another disappointing off season for Pumas fans in which the club didn’t made any signings and lost a key player in Erik Lira to Cruz Azul, there were not many expectations. Still Pumas has shocked most fans by crushing Toluca 5-0 in their season opener at home and then going to Queretaro and getting a 3-1 victory with some great goals. Pumas went close to get a three game win streak after taking a 1-0 lead at home against Tigres but two late goals gave them their first loss as well as slowing down the enthusiasm of many Pumas’ fans. Still they have a good opportunity to bounce back against a Xolos team that is struggling, and although their past hasn’t been the best in Tijuana, they definitely are the team that has been playing the best out of the two.

Tijuana’s has had success at home but they are struggling, and while Pumas might have had a lot of recent struggles there, they are slightly favored even as they are the away team. Pumas though needs to get things together because a loss would really hurt their momentum, especially when their next game is a tough home game against Leon. Tijuana meanwhile might need a result or there might be whispers about Sebastian Mendez’s job.