SAN DIEGO – The hometown hero and U.S. international, Joe Corona, who had been a key player for the Tijuana Xolos was now on the other side of the field. On Tuesday night he played for his new club Veracruz against the Xolos and beat his old team. Even though all Xolos fans loved him, they were not happy to watch him win this time.
Corona helped the Tijuana club to reach Mexico’s first division and actually win the the league once. The Xolos home stadium, Estadio Caliente, held the game between the two teams. But instead of wearing a Xolos jersey, he was wearing the blue Veracruz uniform in their victory by 3-1.
To make it worse for Xolos fans, the San Diego player produced a great performance with his new team. He played for 75 minutes helping the team offensively, as Veracruz dominated the game in the second half. Corona subbed out and left the field with a standing ovation from the crowd that showed him respect and he applauded the as well showing appreciation.
[quote_box_center]”The truth is it felt very beautiful to return to a city that has meant so much and that they received me like that, applauding me when I’m on the opposing team, is something special for me,” Corona said.[/quote_box_center]
Corona said it was difficult playing against a team that meant a lot to him, but the truth is this switch was a good move for his career.
Instead of playing for a club that just reached Mexico’s first division and is still trying to find its rhythm, Corona will be playing for Veracruz which is a club that has always been on top. Also, at Veracruz he is working with a head coach, Carlos Reinoso, who has a lot more experience, and has proven to help players reach the next level.
In Tuesday’s game, we could see that Reinoso is placing Corona in an even more offensive position than he has been put previously with other coaches. However, Reinoso will also use him on the right and in the center. This is definitely going to help him get more playing time with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Corona’s last appearances were in the third place match against Panama and in the quarterfinal against Cuba.
For the Xolos, Corona did play in centeral midfield for a few times, but at Veracruz, if he continues to show improvement, he might guarantee his spot in the attacking midfield.
As the Xolos are still trying to find their form, this loss at home did not help things at all. They are currently suffering from a home winless streak of 4 games, which is very unusual for the Xolos strong crowd.
Corona does not have to worry about that anymore though, as his focus will solely be on the new club and the national team. By the time we reach the 2018 World Cup, Corona should be peaking in his career.
It is always hard to leave home, but this move across Mexico will be good for himand his career.
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