Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente played their first match against Puebla F.C. in front of an almost sell-out home crowd at the Estadio Caliente in Tijuana. Coming out of a Clausura 2012 season which under coach Antonio Mohamed secured at least another year in the first division and Tijuana’s first playoff appearance, Xolos played their first game of the season with the same intensity. Xolos played with a balanced defense and an offense which was led by Alfredo Moreno in the middle and Duvier Riascos as a far right winger. The Tijuana team came prepared for the beginning of the Apertura 2012 of the new Liga MX and defeated Puebla 2-0 with little difficulty.
The game in Tijuana began with various visual differences as opposed to the previous season because the stadium is currently under construction to accomodate a total of 5,000 new spectators. With this extra crowd, the Estadio Caliente felt bigger than ever with its fans known to be one of the loudest in Mexico. As the game began, Xolos took early possession of the ball creating several goal opportunities including a close shot by American Joe Corona in the first minutes after a
beautiful play and cross by Riascos on the right.
After several crosses and corner kicks, Tijuana won a free kick outside the box which Fernando Arce took to make it 1-0 for Xolos in the 12th minute. After Tijuana’s first goal, Mohamed lowered his lines and played a more defensive game which allowed Puebla to create a few poor goal scoring opportunities. Puebla, however, was unable to create good soccer and failed throughout the first 45 minutes to tie the game.
Early in the second half Xolos once again took possession of the ball, and with the incorporation of Fidel ‘Neymar’ Martinez into the pitch Tijuana became more dangerous with his speed on the left wing and Riascos on the right. In the 70th minute after a corner kick and a header by Leandro Augusto, new defender Pablo Aguilar headed in the 2-0 goal for Tijuana leading the crowd into its feet.
The game lost intensity after the second goal other than a close header by Puebla’s Isaac Romo in the 88th minute. Tijuana won its first game of the season with clear control and a strong defense, while Puebla will need to improve its play to not fall deep into the relegation fight.
-Egidio Arevalo, Tijuana’s best midfielder from last season was transferred to Palermo in the offseason but his replacement, Argentinian Cristian Pellerano seemed strong, confident and had a good game; Xolo fans can feel comfortable that the gap left by Arevalo will nicely be taken care of.
-This game was the first in Estadio Caliente’s short history in which beer and other liquids were not thrown into the air to celebrate the local team’s goals. Nicely done by the crowd to respect the new norms of the Liga MX, which suggests the great quality and ambience of fans in Tijuana.
Xoloitzcuintles– Cirilo Saucedo, Jorge Hernandez, Javier Gandolfi, Pablo Aguilar, Edgar Castillo (Greg Garza), Fernando Arce, Leandro Augusto, Cristian Pellerano, Joe Corona (Fidel Martinez), Duvier Riascos, Alfredo Moreno (Jose Madueña)
Puebla– Alexandro Alvarez, Orlando Rincon (Isaac Romo), Roberto Juarez, Jesus Chavez, Jaime Duran, Aldo Polo, Jorge Gastelum, Herminio Miranda, Matias Alustiza, Edison Toloza, DaMarcus Beasley (Diego de Buen)(Brayan Martinez)