For a moment, it looked like Tijuana was going to cruise through an easy match on Saturday night. Following an impressive early goal from Miller Bolaños in the 7th minute, all signs pointed to a straightforward victory for Xolos.
Instead, Chivas unexpectedly bounced back with an organized and spirited response against the visiting side. Thanks to ensuing goals from Jose Juan Macias and Carlos Fierro, Tijuana found itself with a 3-1 deficit by the 56th minute.
Xolos manager Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet threw plenty of numbers forward in retaliation, but eventually failed to get anything past goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota. Well, there was one moment, but we’ll discuss that in a bit.
Here are three talking points for Tijuana in the recent loss.
1. No lack of controversy after an unallowed late goal for Xolos
Like usual in recent matches, Coudet threw everything forward in a desperate attempt to find late goals. On par with a futile “All Out Attack” strategy any of us would utilize in a bleak FIFA game, the manager went for a late Hail Mary in hopes of at least a draw. And it almost worked…almost.
— Jason Foster (@JogaBonitoUSA) October 29, 2017
In the 86th minute, Juan Martin Lucero bravely headed in a powerful free kick from Gustavo Bou. The ball went into the back of net, providing Tijuana with a minuscule of hope for a comeback. That is, until a quick chat with a sideline official changed the mind of the central referee. The goal was called offside, fueling plenty of angry responses from Xolos and their furiously tweeting fans.
Sure, Tijuana was the second-best team in the Estadio Chivas on Saturday, but one can’t help but wonder what kind of impact that late goal could have had — especially when you consider that it did indeed look onside.
2. An off-night for Perez helped create the loss
Although it’s unfair to only point fingers at Damian Perez, the wing-back’s poor performance was one of the main reasons why Chivas walked away with a win. The high-pressing player was vulnerable on Saturday and is deserving of plenty blame for the first two goals from the opposition.
The Argentine was also a bit lucky to not earn at least a yellow for a poor challenge in the 1st half as well.
Perez is undoubtedly a key figure in Coudet’s roster, but against Chivas, it was worrisome to see him emerge as the clear weak-link in the defense.
3. Tijuana is distancing itself from the playoffs
Do Xolos still have an opportunity to qualify for the Liguilla? Most definitely. At time of writing, Coudet and his men are only three points behind a prized position in the top eight of the league table. A path into the playoffs continues to exist, but unfortunately for Tijuana fans, it has become much more complicated after the loss to Chivas.
Demanding clashes against Leon and Toluca await Xolos, and if they play at the same level seen on Saturday, there’s little hope for a place in the Liguilla for Coudet. They’ll also need a small amount of luck with other results working in their favor.
Xolos’ best against Chivas — Gustavo Bou
It has to be Bou. The striker provided the assist for the first goal and then nearly had another for the unallowed goal from Lucero. With each passing game, it’s become more and more evident that the 27-year-old is the most important member of Tijuana’s squad.