Leon 2-4 Club Tijuana: Xolos Steamroll Past Their Liga MX Rivals

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Leon 2-4 Club Tijuana: Xolos Steamroll Past Their Liga MX Rivals

After allowing an early goal from Elias Hernandez in the sixth minute, Tijuana bounced back with four of their own during Saturday’s 4-2 win over Leon

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After allowing an early goal from Elias Hernandez in the sixth minute, Tijuana bounced back with four of their own during Saturday’s 4-2 win over Leon.

Thanks to the three points gained, Xolos have not only claimed four league victories in a row, but also a current spot at the top of the Liga MX table.

Despite some of the struggles on display during the previous two matches, manager Miguel Herrera has found a way to continue racking up wins in the 2017 Clausura. With 12 points in hand, its becoming increasingly difficult to bet against the coach who is inching closer towards a return to the playoffs.

Here are three talking points from last Saturday’s game:

1. Should Nuñez replace Orozco?

Michael Orozco’s injury was a blessing in disguise for Tijuana. Following a forced substitution for Juan Carlos Nuñez in the 20th minute, Xolos were able to steal back possession from a Leon side that was thrashing Tijuana during most of the first half.

Instead of 5-2-3/3-4-3 setup with three central defenders, Nuñez’s inclusion switched the backline into a four-man setup. This change in formation helped add more numbers in the midfield and also released Paul Arriola from his defensive responsibilities.

Herrera was undoubtedly happy with the result that provided four goals, but now the manager will likely be reconsidering his roster options.

After his exceptional performance against Leon, will Herrera give Nuñez his first start of the season this week?

2. Hurtado is taking charge of Tijuana’s attack.

No Dayro Moreno or Gabriel Hauche, no problem.

Aviles Hurtado once again carried Xolos’ frontline and was vital with his goal and assist on Saturday night. The Colombian has been incredible during the Clausura and now has three goals and one assist in his last four matches.

Without Moreno or Hauche, Xolos were expected to struggle in this tournament without key components in the starting XI. In their place, Hurtado has stepped up as the clear leader.

Although others such as Ignacio Malcorra, Joe Corona, Milton Caraglio and Arriola should also be given credit for their support in the attack, no other name in Herrera’s roster has been more influential or authoritative than Hurtado.


3. Arriola is quickly becoming one of Liga MX’s breakout players of the season.

Last year, Paul Arriola’s role for Xolos was a modest one as a backup player. Without a single start in the Apertura, the agile American was utilized as mostly a late impact player in the second half of matches.

Now, the 22-year-old is an undisputed starter for Herrera.

After five games in the Clausura, Arriola has turned heads in the league with his two goals and two assists for Tijuana. With his blistering pace and immense energy on the field, it’s tough to ignore the Chula Vista native who dominates the right flank.

Against Leon, Arriola was a headache for the opposition that constantly failed to halt his movement. During the 77th minute, the winger took advantage of a late counter which led to Xolos’ fourth and final goal of the win.

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Will Arriola’s form help earn a call-up by USMNT coach Bruce Arena? A few more goals might help his chances of donning the national team jersey for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama.

Xolos man of the match: Aviles Hurtado

Hurtado, who finished with a goal and an assist, also won the penalty that later provided a goal for Milton Caraglio in the 41st minute. As mentioned beforehand, the 29-year-old is carrying the team in a period which was supposed to be difficult for Xolos’ attack.

If Hurtado continues to help find the back of the net, there is no reason why Tijuana won’t be one of the leading candidates for a Clausura title.