Xolos and Gallos square off tonight in what is potentially the worst and weakest metting between either of these two in their decade-long history of matchups. They currently occupy 16th and 15th in the league table, respectively, but the outstanding figure for both of them is their relegation positioning, taking up 17th and 18th, respectively. In other words, they’re the two worst teams over a span of three years. Just can’t get any uglier than that.
Grupo Caliente has managed to put together nearly two identically horrid clubs. Tijuana, on the one hand, have a record of 2W, 6D, 5L, with 14 GF and 21 GA (12 points), while Querétaro have a record of 2W, 7D, 4L, with 12 GF and 19 GA (13 points). As I mentioned in a previous article, they have become the laughingstock of owners in the league, and somehow still have a heavy hand in the Mexican National Team - proof of this when Rodrigo Ares de Parga was named National Teams Director just a couple of months ago. Just goes to show FMF and Selección Mexicana positions aren’t necessarily merit-based.
But I digress. Despite the unattractive clubs, things aren’t all that bad in tonight’s Estadio Caliente matchup. For one, Gallos have been on a bit of a resurgence of late, especially since the return of the fans to their stadium. Over the past 5 matches, Gallos have only lost once, but most importantly have obtained 8 points in that span. Miguel Barbieri has proved his importance to the club as well, not only doing an exceptional job defending, but scoring a couple crucial goals as well on the way, one of them the winner against Pumas on Sunday.
In terms of the home side, despite being winless over their past 4 matches, they’ve been part of some high energy games, such as the 3-2 loss to Santos and the 3-3 draw with Toluca. Herrera has surely put his offensive imprint on the club if anything else.
Another interesting aspect tonight is the playoff race. Tijuana’s 12 points and Querétaro’s 13 has them both on the doorstep of the Repechaje. Atlas currently occupy the 12th and final Repechaje spot and they only have 13 points themselves. In fact, between 9th and 17th there is only a 5 point gap, so everyone who isn’t Mazatlán are still very much alive in the playoff hunt, no matter how forgettable a season they might’ve had. So, this matchup has important implications in the playoff race.
Finally, and saving the best for last, the elephant in the room in a sense: Gallos’ road winless streak. The last time Gerk’s squad played a road game, it was almost a month ago when they fell to San Luis 2-0 on March 10. That marked the 52nd consecutive game without a win on the road. That final score put them all but two games away from tying the worst streak of all time in Mexico (54) owned by Correcaminos.
After tonight, Querétaro have one more road game left (Santos), and let’s be honest; it’s not happening in Torreón. If there was ever a time, place, and chance to put an end to this streak, it’s today, facing none else than the second worst team in Liga MX (after themselves of course) over a period of three years. And with the recent surge they’ve had, they should be coming into tonight pretty motivated with a chance to get into playoff positioning with a win. Last call for Gallos if they plan on avoiding Correcaminos’ all-time record.