This Friday, Xolos will take part in their last home game of the regular season against a daunting Tigres roster.
In what might prove to be the most difficult match of the 2016 Apertura, manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera will attempt to break through a Tigres side that has only allowed four goals in their seven away games. The Monterrey club is arguably the most organized team in the league, and one that is under the management of veteran coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti.
Ferretti is a no-nonsense leader that loves to utilize a practical and conservative style of play that rarely gives up goals. As for Ferretti’s attack, his squad has incredible talents like Andre-Pierre Gignac, Javier Aquino, Ismael Sosa and numerous others who are some of the best players in the league.
Tigres love to control possession, even in away matches, and will put certain Xolos midfield options like Guido Rodriguez and Kevin Gutierrez to the test on Friday night. It might even be best for Herrera to take away one of the wingers in his attack and bring in another midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation that could wrestle away more possession.
Tactically, the Tijuana manager should attempt to reassess his strategy for this game, but it’s unlikely that the unshakable Herrera will change his starting XI or usual 4-3-3 plan against Tigres.
Due to the fact that there will likely be several dangerous opportunities from Aquino and Gignac, Xolos goalkeeper Federico Vilar will once again need to have an outstanding performance in net. As difficult as this might be, it’s easy to feel confidence in the 39-year-old who was superb for Tijuana last weekend in the 1-0 win over Toluca.
If Herrera is able to steal some possession and emerge with a draw or win, he will finish the regular season without a single loss at home. Better yet, if he is able to emerge with a victory, the coach will finish with seven wins in seven matches at the Estadio Caliente.
Although Xolos already have a spot in the playoffs guaranteed, it’s vital for Herrera and his roster to enter the Liguilla with some momentum before fighting for the Apertura title. As seen many times beforehand, several clubs who end up thriving in the playoffs are those who finish the regular season with plenty of momentum behind them.