Pumas 3-3 Club Tijuana: Xolos Earn a Draw in a Thrilling Mexico City Goalfest

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Pumas 3-3 Club Tijuana: Xolos Earn a Draw in a Thrilling Mexico City Goalfest

Midway into the second half of Sunday’s match, Tijuana was strolling towards an away win. Following goals from Aviles Hurtado, Ignacio Malcorra and

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Midway into the second half of Sunday’s match, Tijuana was strolling towards an away win.

Following goals from Aviles Hurtado, Ignacio Malcorra and Guido Rodriguez, Xolos found themselves with a dominant 3-0 lead by the 66th minute. Despite the fact that Pumas maintained more possession, and edged the count of attacking opportunities, the Mexico City club wasn’t able to get anything past Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud.

That is, until Nicolas Castillo stepped up.

After a highlight-worthy strike from Castillo found the back of the net in the 72nd minute, a reinvigorated Pumas pushed forward for a draw. Following the lone goal for the home side, Pumas bounced back with two additional opportunities in the 79th and 82nd minute.

Lost in Pumas’ late attacking pressure, Tijuana manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera failed to provide much of a fight and was left with just one point in hand after blowing a 3-0 lead.

Here are three Xolos talking points from Sunday’s 3-3 draw.

1. Hurtado is the most important player in the roster

The argument could be made for Rodriguez, or perhaps Juan Carlos Valenzuela, but Hurtado is undoubtedly the most influential and important member of Tijuana’s starting XI.

On Sunday, the Colombian did everything possible to secure a win through his goal and two assists for Xolos. After seven matches in the Clausura, Hurtado now has four goals and three assists in the tournament, which is the highest in either category for Tijuana.

As mentioned beforehand, the striker has done an excellent job of taking over the attack which was once led by Dayro Moreno and Gabriel Hauche. With Hurtado pulling the strings up front, Xolos have been able to rack up more goals than any other Liga MX side.

If only the same kind of praise could be given to the backline…

2. Defensive issues are gradually becoming a problem

Tijuana is doing very well in the attack, but it’s also important to note the fact that Xolos have allowed 11 goals in seven matches. Only Puebla and Leon, who are both at the bottom of the league table, have allowed more.

Granted, thanks to these high-scoring games, Tijuana is now one of the more exciting teams to watch this season, but this comes at a cost for the club that has now gone two matches in a row without a win. Sunday’s draw, which allowed three goals in just 10 minutes, is a perfect example of the underlying issues for the border town team.

It’s difficult to put the blame on just one or two select players, or even Lajud in net, but Herrera must reassess his current gameplan which produces countless goals for the opposition.

3. Medina has once again lost a key role

When Juan Carlos Medina first arrived last summer, the veteran was expected to be an important player in Herrera’s roster. However, after two starts against Puebla and Morelia, Medina was dropped in favor of the promising Rodriguez.

Six months afterwards, the former national team player is reliving a similar story.

Playing alongside Rodriguez last month, Medina was given the start in Tijuana’s first two matches of the Clausura against Puebla and Morelia. Once again, like last year, the central midfielder was dropped to the bench after two games. This time, it was Joe Corona who replaced the veteran.

Medina’s diminished spot in the roster was reinforced on Sunday when Herrera brought on midfielder Jorge Ortiz for Corona during the 73rd minute. On paper, Medina could have easily been that substitute, but was overlooked by Herrera for the Argentine newcomer.

At the moment, it appears as though Medina will have to fight for minutes in Copa MX games.

Xolos man of the match — Aviles Hurtado

Were it not for the three late goals, which weren’t entirely his fault, Lajud could have easily taken this spot. Instead, the clear and obvious answer here is Hurtado.

Herrera can’t ask for more than two assists and one goal from the striker and will likely need him to be at his best when Tijuana hosts Monterrey this upcoming Friday.