Yikes. Friday night’s loss was a tough one to watch for Tijuana fans. Although Xolos controlled more possession than Atlas, manager Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet struggled to create dangerous opportunities in the attack. Following a lone goal from former Tijuana striker Milton Caraglio in the 63rd minute, Atlas had no problems sitting back and defending the narrow lead.
Here are three Xolos talking points from the recent loss.
1. Issues continue to emerge in the attack
In the last five games, Tijuana has only collected a meager tally of two goals. Keeping in mind that noteworthy names such as Gustavo Bou, Juan Iturbe and Miller Bolaños are a part of the roster, it’s odd to see the team stumble in the final third.
To be fair to Bou, in spite of the clear opportunity that he missed during the 1st half on Friday, the Argentine striker has had a role in over half of Xolos’ goals so far this season. That said, if Bou doesn’t collect a goal or assist for Tijuana, who will?
— Jason Foster (@JogaBonitoUSA) October 21, 2017
2. Musto nearly fights another teammate for the second time this season
Call it aggression, drive or passion, but Damian Musto appears to have no qualms getting into arguments with members of his squad.
During the 1st half against Atlas, Musto was seen yelling and nearly getting into a fight with an equally enraged Matias Aguirregaray. Luckily, team captain Juan Carlos Valenzuela did an excellent job of separating the two before the scuffle escalated. Two months ago, Musto was involved in a similar situation with Ignacio Malcorra. Following a draw with Puebla, both players were seen in a heated argument as they left the pitch.
Are Musto’s actions simply a harmless product of his spirit on the field? Is it a sign of some potential problems in the locker room?
3. A path to the playoffs has become much more complicated for Coudet
Here’s the good news for Tijuana fans: Regardless of the results this weekend, Xolos can’t drop any further than their current spot at 10th place. Here’s the bad news: Only three matches are left in the regular season for Tijuana and two involve clubs that are in the top five of the league table (at time of writing).
Although there’s still time to make a run into a playoff-worthy spot in the top eight, Xolos will need to find some much-needed motivation that has been largely absent since mid-September.
Tijuana’s best against Atlas — Ignacio Malcorra
Today’s performance wasn’t the most impressive for Malcorra, but from the long list of lackadaisical Xolos players, Malcorra was the best. As expected from the midfielder, Malcorra was a vital playmaker and a crucial source of dangerous crosses. As the game progressed, the 30-year-old also showed off his versatility as a more defensive-minded central midfielder.