Tijuana fans are becoming justifiably restless.
Friday night’s 2-1 loss to Monterrey was the eighth consecutive home match of the Clausura without a victory for Los Xolos. Manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera has yet to collect a win in the Estadio Caliente and has now gone three games in a row without gaining a point.
To be fair, most Liga MX clubs would struggle with back-to-back matches against America and Monterrey, two teams that are sitting comfortably in second and first place respectively and are the likely candidates to win this season’s title.
After last week’s embarrassing 6-1 away loss to Las Aguilas, Friday’s narrow defeat may not seem so bad. Few expected Tijuana to walk away with points in either of the two matches, and Xolos nearly scored an equalizer against Monterrey — which could have been massive for a side that is in desperate need of confidence.
All that being said, local fans were right to once again boo and jeer their home team, which has failed to win at home season and continued to move down the league table.
Now outside of the top eight, Los Xolos might struggle to make it into the Liguilla. Statistically speaking, they will likely qualify for the playoffs if they win their last three matches, but there are no guarantees. Even with nine points, the club may still miss out on the Liguilla and will need to hope for numerous results to work in its favor.
With Colombian Dayro Moreno spearheading most of the attack during the past couple months, most of the responsibility of gaining those much-needed points will be put on the striker’s shoulders. The 30-year-old is the team’s leading goal scorer and registered Tijuana’s only goal in the loss to Monterrey.
If Moreno fails to capitalize on his chances during the next few weeks, it appears unlikely that Xolos find much success. With his seven goals and three assists, the striker has had a part in 62.5% of Tijuana’s 16 goals. Essentially, if Xolos are scoring, there is a great chance that Moreno had a part in it.
Now, the big question is this: Do Xolos still have a good chance at taking part in the playoffs?
Short answer: Somewhat.
Asking for Tijuana to suddenly amass points, after only gaining one in the last four games, might seem like a difficult task. Luckily for Herrera and company, the schedule to finish the regular season will be significantly easier. Pumas, Puebla and Atlas are all beatable sides for Tijuana. Each team has had just as many, if not more problems than Xolos this season and also have no guarantees for a spot in the top eight.
Xolos are most definitely down but not out. Herrera still has a late opportunity to redeem himself, and in a couple of weeks he will also have a chance to finally gain his first win at home as manager of Xolos. If not, there will be more criticism and questions for the coach who was expected to bring big changes for Tijuana.