Last Friday, thousands of Tijuana fans left the Estadio Caliente with serious worries after Xolos’ 2-0 loss to Cruz Azul. In the team’s season-opener, Tijuana proved to be inefficient in the attack, predictable and also riddled with individual errors.
Immediately following the defeat, newly appointed manager Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet voiced his concern in the post-game press conference. The Argentine, who had been praised for his attack-minded and aggressive style of play in the past, mentioned that the squad might need more time to adapt to his approach.
— @Xolos_En (@xolos_en) July 22, 2017
With an upcoming away game set against Necaxa this week, it will be interesting to see if there will be any hints of progress regarding an influence of the coach’s style on the field. One player who could help push improvements is the biggest summer addition, Gustavo Bou. Much has been made about the talented striker, and if he is match-fit, he will undoubtedly be one of the players to keep an eye on.
Although nothing is confirmed, it is also worth noting that winger Mauricio Cuero will be doubtful for this weekend’s clash against Los Rayos. That said, after his disappointing performance last week, you might seldom find Xolos supporters who will be heartbroken.
— Francisco Velasco (@FranciscoEfV) July 28, 2017
Key to success for Tijuana — Implementing Coudet’s approach
“We need to try to be that aggressive and dynamic team on whatever field we play and against whomever we play against,” said Xolos defender Emanuel Aguilera during a press conference on Thursday.
By now, you’ve likely heard words like “aggressive” and “dynamic” plenty of times, but they were nowhere to be seen in the home-opener. At the least, there needs to be more hints of that Coudet style this weekend. Whether it be through the wingers, high-pressing defenders or Bou, Xolos must capitalize on that approach that could work wonders in Liga MX.
Defensively, Tijuana must also be very careful of not leaving too much space for a name like Necaxa’s Jesus Isijara. If given room, the winger will be sure to have a number of threatening shots and runs from the right flank.
Xolos player to watch — Ignacio Malcorra
One of the few players who looked decent against Cruz Azul last week was Malcorra. Despite the fact that he lost the ball far too many times, the left winger was proactive with his crosses and runs. Considering that Cuero is doubtful, and that Paul Arriola likely needs a rest after Gold Cup duties, plenty of attacking responsibility will land on the shoulders of Malcorra.
Predicted starting XI
Last week, Coudet announced his starting XI the night before the game so let’s see if this happens again. Since it hasn’t happened yet, this is what I’m thinking we might see.
Predicted score — Necaxa 1-1 Tijuana
Xolos have the potential to make things difficult for Necaxa, but I still believe that the revamped roster will need more time to adjust. I’ll go with a wild guess here and say that Bou scores Tijuana’s lone goal.