Friday night’s 0-0 draw proved to be an unsatisfactory result for Tijuana fans. Once the final whistle blew, boos and jeers immediately rained down from the Estadio Caliente crowd that expected a victory — especially after Veracruz earned a red in the 66th minute.
Xolos still have time to make a late run into the top eight, but with only one home game left in the five regular season matches remaining, Tijuana will need to make serious improvements in order to qualify for the playoffs.
Here are three Xolos talking points from the recent draw.
1. The switch to a four-man backline failed
In general, Tijuana manager Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet has been able to find success with a 5-3-2 formation. The switch to a five-man backline not only suited his tactics, but also helped end Xolos’ poor start to the tournament.
Despite this, Coudet decided to go with a 4-4-2 on Friday which did little to create dangerous opportunities in the 1st half. Although Tijuana eventually launched a total of 16 shots in the draw, 12 of these arrived against a 10-man Veracruz during the 2nd half. Better finishing could have also helped ease problems for Xolos, but starting with a high-pressing 5-3-2 would have avoided the desperate rush in the final stages.
For those thinking that Coudet made the switch to a four-man defense because of a suspension to Emanuel Aguilera, the manager mentioned in the post-game press conference that Veracruz’s utilization of one striker had more of an influence in his tactical change.
Will we see another 4-4-2 again in the near future?
2. Yellow cards stole the show
In total, one red and 10 yellows were shown by referee Jorge Isaac Rojas.
The draw was clearly a scrappy one, and it was a slight surprise that at least one more red wasn’t seen. Was Rojas to blame? The referee did appear card-happy in the second half, but fingers should also be pointed at both sides who dished out a number of reckless fouls.
No win was secured for Xolos, but fans should feel relieved that the team was able to walk away with 11 players on the field.
3. Tijuana’s noteworthy attack is in a slump
There’s good reason to be excited about Xolos’ revamped attack. With names like Gustavo Bou, Juan Iturbe and Miller Bolaños now in the squad, there’s an immense amount of potential for the frontline.
That said, there’s no denying that the attack is currently looking mediocre. In the last four matches of the 2017 Apertura, Coudet’s men have only scored once. It’s a discouraging statistic, and during the post-game press conference, the manager didn’t hesitate to bring it up to the press.
“I agree with you that we need to start winning again.We will try to do it again and return to being more accurate when we need to finish,” stated Coudet. “I agree with your first question that we are lacking goals. One goal in four games is not much.”
Xolos’ best player against Veracruz — Luis Angel Mendoza
Whether Coudet thinks he is worthy of a starting role or not, Mendoza was at times the only true playmaker for Xolos. The midfielder has plenty of competition in the roster, but few play with the same kind of energy and drive that the 27-year-old showcased against Veracruz.