After a miserable start to the 2017 Apertura, things are suddenly looking quite good for Tijuana.
Following a much-needed 2-0 win over Santos Laguna last Friday, Xolos maintained their newfound drive with a 3-1 away victory against Queretaro on Tuesday. Thanks to goals from Luis Angel Mendoza, Damian Perez and Gustavo Bou, Tijuana has started to turn around a season that was fairly depressing through the first few weeks.
Now, Xolos have proven to be a much more coordinated and organized squad during the past several days. Although there are still a few problems that must be fixed before potentially gaining more points, there are clear signs of significant progress under the leadership of manager Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet.
Here are three Xolos talking points after Tuesday night’s win.
1. Three games, three goals: Bou is on fire
It’s fascinating to compare both Bou and Xolos during the six matches played so far in the Apertura. Both were awful during the first three games, made gradual improvements during the fourth, and then truly started to shine during the most recent two matches of the tournament.
In case you missed the stat, Bou has helped carry the Tijuana roster with three goals in his last three games. The 27-year-old has been brilliant in recent weeks and doesn’t appear to be slowing down at any point soon. In fact, during the win over Queretaro, the Argentine was clearly hungry for a fourth goal that almost arrived late into the victory.
Bou is rapidly growing confidence, and as long as he continues to find the back of the net, Xolos should have a good chance of gaining a playoff-worthy spot in the top eight this season.
— @Xolos_En (@xolos_en) August 23, 2017
2. Coudet is close to finding his ideal starting XI
After fielding a very similar lineup last Friday, the starters seen today are more than likely going to be Coudet’s go-to players in the near future.
Gibran Lajud has thankfully avoided unnecessary problems in net, Damian Perez is the unquestioned left wing-back and the central defensive trio of Emanuel Aguilera, Alejandro Donatti and Juan Carlos Valenzuela are working very well. In the midfield, Ignacio Malcorra, Luis Chavez and Damian Musto are thriving while Bou and Luis Angel Mendoza have looked incredible up top.
The only spot which Coudet still has question marks over is the right wing-back position. Despite the fact that Juan Carlos Nuñez was given the start today, backup Matias Aguirregaray has also shown that he is more than capable of thriving in that place.
Either way, Xolos fans should continue to expect a 5-3-2 formation that utilizes several of the aforementioned players.
3. Where will Juan Iturbe fit in the new system?
At the risk of disrupting Tijuana’s momentum, Coudet needs to find a spot in the starting XI for Iturbe. The 24-year-old winger, who is set to be presented to the media on Thursday night, is far too talented to leave on the bench. With his blistering pace and excellent dribbling, the Argentine-born Paraguayan is a perfect replacement for Paul Arriola.
What does that then mean? If Coudet is hoping to work with the same 5-3-2 formation, it would probably be ideal for the winger to either take the place of Chavez in the midfield or Mendoza in the frontline. Whatever the decision, it will be interesting to see how Coudet attempts to make room for the new option on loan.
Xolos’ best of the night — Luis Angel Mendoza
I have to select the player who had a major influence in all three goals.
During the first goal, Chavez’s shot deflected off Mendoza before entering the back of the net. In the second one, his crucial interception allowed Malcorra to provide the assist for Perez. During the third, Mendoza garnered an assist of his own through an accurate long pass that allowed Bou to score in the 73rd minute.
Although Iturbe is soon arriving, Mendoza might make it difficult for him to potentially steal minutes.