Tigres’ newest addition is wasting no time, as the club confirmed through a tweet earlier today that Diego Lainez will be making the trip with his teammates under Diego Cocca’s orders to face Cruz Azul in the Azteca tomorrow at 8:05 pm ET / 7:05 pm CT / 5:05 PT. Despite having only joined the club on Monday, Cocca feels Lainez gives his club the best chance to win by including him on the roster, even if he’s only gotten in two practices with the rest of the team.
¡Rumbo al Azteca con todo el arsenal! ¡Vamos los Tigres!— Club Tigres Oficial (@TigresOficial) February 3, 2023
Presentada por @VivaAerobus pic.twitter.com/44LEyiHl2q
Not only does Lainez all of a sudden become Tigres’ best winger option off the bench, but there are two other factors that come into play that could force Cocca’s hand in playing the 22 year-old star.
Reason 1 - Lack of scoring
After a red-hot start to the season offensively, scoring 7 goals in their first two matches (at Santos, vs. Pachuca), this stellar offense has gone ice cold. They trailed most of the match in Tijuana, and if not for Gignac’s brilliance, it would’ve stayed that way. That performance was followed by last Saturday’s scoreless draw at home against Atlético de San Luis.
I’m sorry, but with an offense this potent and well-rounded, it’s simply inexcusable to score once in 180 minutes. Now granted, San Luis did get lucky. Two Tigres goals were called back due to very narrow offside calls. It was more unlucky than anything. But still, two games in a row now where this offense has struggled to leave a mark.
Vigón, Gorriarán, Córdova, Aquino, Fulgencio, ‘Diente’ López, Quiñones, Nico Ibáñez, Gignac, and now Lainez. Too much of an effort by the front office putting together such an offensive powerhouse. Again, inexcusable to go on these types of dry spells with so much talent.
Reason 2 - Not winning
This team was put together to do one thing and one thing only: WIN. Anything else is a failure; more this season than the rest. Again, a great start to the season saw Cocca’s squad crush their rivals en route to their first two wins of the Clausura 2023. However, they’ve since garnered two draws in as many games, and a third consecutive match without a victory tomorrow just cannot fly with a club of this magnitude.
This club has to win at least 11 to 12 matches in the season, and as long as this roster remains, they should do so every season. Now, in no way am I saying it’s been a negative outcome for Cocca. They came out and hit the ground running, and have dominated their rivals. But as we all know, what matters in the end are results. And these results begin to follow a similar trend for Tigres.
The additions of Gorriarán, Ibáñez, and Lainez now obliges this team to avoid negative streaks (small expections are understandable amd let’s hope that’s all this is). But overall, three winless matches in a row would be unacceptable. So, rest assured Lainez will be used if Cocca feels there’s any threat of that happening.
An interesting stat in their matchups of late. In the last 9 meetings between them (including 4 playoff matches - all in quarterfinal round), the home team has failed to win. The road team has won a whopping 7 times, while the other 2 matches ended in draws. We have to go all the way back to February 2020 (the eventual suspended season due to the COVID pandemic) to find the last time the home team won. Cruz Azul came out victors 2-1 on that day.