Friday night’s match between Puebla and Tijuana looked more like a second division clash than one from Liga MX. With poor finishing from Los Camoteros, plenty of mistimed tackles from Xolos, and thousands of empty seats in the Estadio Cuauhtemoc, the 1-1 draw was one to forget both sides.
At the very least for Xolos, a silver-lining is that the struggling club has clinched its first point of the regular season. Following three losses in a row, Friday’s draw is a small yet important step in the right direction.
That said, you’ll seldom find many fans who will be celebrating the draw. Keeping in mind that Gustavo Bou’s second half equalizer for Tijuana should have been called offside, Xolos could have easily limped to another loss in the Apertura.
Here are three talking points from Tijuana’s most recent game.
1. Bou — and Xolos — have finally found the back of the net
Entering Week 4, Tijuana was the only team left in the entire league without a goal to its name. This unfortunate streak looked as if it was going to continue until Bou scored his first goal for Xolos during the 57th minute. Luckily for Tijuana, the assistant referee wasn’t able to catch the fact that the striker appeared offside before scoring.
Offside or not, the goal was a major moment from the team which grew in confidence afterwards. It wasn’t brilliant or threatening soccer, but it was still more proactive and exciting than what Xolos have typically looked like during the past few weeks.
As for Bou, Tijuana’s focal point in the attack can now rest easy knowing he has finally scored for his new club. It’s a glass half-full perspective, but today’s goal might provide some much-needed momentum for the striker.
2. Where is Coudet’s style of play?
It’s repetitive to complain about the same things regarding Coudet, but where was his attack-minded and dynamic style of play? One week after stating that his roster wasn’t playing as well as he wanted them to, the coach clearly went into this match with the hopes of earning a draw.
The fullbacks rarely pushed forward and his wingers regularly stepped back to help defend. It was strange to watch, and after Puebla scored the first goal of the game, it appeared as if Coudet’s plan was doomed to fail.
Xolos, of course, later went on to pressure and equalize during the second half, but the visiting side was still fortunate to leave the match with a draw in hand.
3. No reliable starting XI just yet for Tijuana
It might take some time for Coudet to find his best options. At the moment, only a handful of players seem to have a spot guaranteed on the field. Paul Arriola’s recent departure also hasn’t made things any easier for the manager who is still shuffling through his roster.
Other than Damian Perez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damian Musto, Ignacio Malcorra, Bou, and perhaps one or two more, starting spots continue to be up for grabs for Xolos.
During the next couple of matches, it wouldn’t be that surprising if Coudet continues to rotate through his roster, desperate to find his ideal starting options.
Tijuana’s best against Puebla — Gibran Lajud
Do I have to pick someone? Bou scored the lone goal but was fairly poor with his passing. Malcorra had plenty of energy but also didn’t connect a number of his crosses. That leaves us with Lajud. The young goalkeeper nearly allowed a late goal, but were it not for his massive saves, the match could have been much worse for Xolos.
However, although Lajud is gradually improving after a worrisome start to the Apertura, the 23-year-old must work on avoiding more small blunders in front of net.