The Tijuana Xolos vs Pachuca game will take place in Tijuana at the Estadio Caliente on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 (7:30 PM Pacific). This has all the ingredients for a good match: a red-hot Pachuca, an always-difficult-at home Xolos, the return of Riascos to his old stadium, and a need for Xolos’ coach Jorge Almiron to earn his first win with Tijuana.
Pachuca started off the season with a 1-0 away win against Toluca. Last week, Pachuca defeated a strong Tigres squad 2-1 at home. Now, the Tuzos want to continue their winning streak against a Tijuana squad that is still getting used to their new coach’s playing style.
Tijuana’s Week 1 home match ended in a 3-3 draw against Atlas (the Week 2 match against America was postponed to October).There are three main takeaways that I took from the Xolos vs Atlas game:
- Dario Benedetto will be a great player for Xolos. He scored three goals, was absolutely brilliant in scoring opportunities, had good off the ball movement, and could even create good passes. I predict Benedetto will be in the top 3 spots of the individual scoring table this season.
- Jorge Almiron appeared to be slow at realizing the situation of the game and adapting through substitutions. When Xolos was up 3-1, a typical Turco move would have been to sub out a striker to bring in a defensive midfielder or another defender. Instead, Almiron did nothing, maintaining an offensive formation that allowed too much space for the Atlas attack. Almiron will need to mature tactically (Xolos is his very first top division side) if he wants to remain with Tijuana.
- Almiron, in my opinion, created a huge mistake by starting Fidel Martinez on the bench. The “Ecuadorian Neymar” has been a great offensive player for the past 2 seasons. Martinez should have started in place of Olsina, instead, he came in with 5 minutes left in the match and was not able to change the final score. Almiron needs to always start Martinez, he is a proven key player that should never sit on the bench.
Unlike the match against Atlas, where Tijuana was missing many key players, we will get to see a nearly complete squad in the Xolos vs Pachuca match. Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo are back from their participation in the Gold Cup, and Cirilo Saucedo is back from his injury. The only missing player will be Herculez Gomez, who is still resting up from a knee injury.
There is another big piece to this Xolos vs Pachuca match- the return of Duvier Riascos to Tijuana. Riascos was sold to Pachuca immediately following Xolos’ elimination from the Copa Libertadores. An elimination brought upon due to a last second penalty kick miss from Riascos, a player who was not even supposed to be taking PKs (Arce is the official PK taker). It is rumored that Riascos was starting to fracture the locker room, and was unhappy in Tijuana (he had tried to leave to a German team prior to the start of the Clausura 2013).
Whatever the reason was, Xolos ownership decided to let go of Riascos. It will be interesting to see how the Tijuana crowd will react to Riascos’ appearance on the pitch wearing a Pachuca jersey. I suspect there won’t be much booing, the Tijuana fans are still mostly just happy to have a local team in the Liga MX, and don’t harbor the cynicism that older fan bases have.
Xolos vs Pachuca 2013 Prediction
The Xolos vs Pachuca match will be another exciting encounter at the Estadio Caliente. A (nearly) full strength Xolos will face off against an undefeated Pachuca that is overloaded with offensive talent. Look for a free-flowing game, as the Jorge Almiron version of Xolos does not appear to use the defensive minded approach that was used (successfully) under Turco Mohamed. The Tijuana players are still getting used to the new playing style, and Pachuca is on a hot streak, a draw is the most likely result. The Xolos vs Pachuca match will end in a 2-2 draw.
Xolos vs Pachuca Television
The Xolos vs Pachuca game will be shown on ESPN Deportes and Azteca America on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 7:30 PM Pacific.