Xolos will look to maintain home dominance in tough test against Santos Laguna
By Kim Tate
When Club Tijuana steps onto the pitch at Estadio Caliente tonight, it will mark their third match in six days. After suffering a 2-1 loss to Monterrey at Nuevo León on Aug 17, the Xolos traveled to Honduras to face C.D. Victoria in Champions League play, where they walked away with a 3-2 win, and tonight they'll go up against third place Santos Laguna who are undefeated in five regular season matches.
Pedro Caixinha's side is only one point behind second place Veracruz and two behind Morelia. The team from Torreon has a lot of depth, creativity, speed, and a dense defensive line which will be a challenge for Xolos, especially after a travel heavy schedule over the span of a week.
The biggest threat Santos pose is in their striker, Oribe Peralta, who has five goals on the season after going on a scoring spree as of late. He bagged two for Mexico in a friendly against Ivory Coast, and two more against Pumas on August 16. Darwin Quintero and Nestor Calderon pose threats as well with their quick abilities to counter and find their way into difficult spots.
Tijuana has to be careful in this match because they have shown us twice this season that they're capable of blowing their lead. We saw it in their 3-3 draw with Atlas in July, and their recent 3-2 victory over CD Victoria in Champions League, giving up a late goal and allowing the Hondurans to get on the board after a penalty was given.
They are, however, the more dominant team when on home soil. The Xolos haven't lost a match at home since April 20th of this year when they fell 1-2 to Morelia. They've won two of three played at Estadio Caliente this apertura, and drawn one.
Currently at 2-1-2 with seven points in five matches, a win against an in-form, undefeated Santos Laguna team will be huge for the Xolos. If they want some confidence and momentum heading into the rest of this apertura, holding off Los Guerreros is the way to do it, and coming out with a win would be the icing and the cherry.
The game will kick off tonight at 7:30 pm at Estadio Caliente. Fans can follow along on Twitter for updates @KimTateSports.