A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Alejandro Palacios, the goalie for Pumas, said the Tijuana Xolos knocked his team out of the playoffs last season and now he would like to return the favor. The only way the Xolos cannot make the playoffs is if they lose the last game of the regular season Sunday to Pumas and the teams Cruz Azul, Pachuca and Jaguares all win their games.
Pumas, of the Autonomous National University Mexico, won the 2011 spring championship but their tie with the Xolos in the 2011 fall season's last game kept Pumas out of the playoffs. Pumas is not in contention this season, and their 3-0 loss to Jaguares on Sunday gave a big boost to the Jaguares' chances of making the playoffs.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story on the playoffs.
The Tijuana Xolos played the Jaguares to a scoreless tie Friday night in Chiapas. The tie meant that the seventh-place Xolos stay three points ahead of the eighth-place Jaguares with two games to play with a possible playoff berth in the balance. Xolo goalie Cirilo Saucedo made a leaping save to knock a free kick over the crossbar as time expired to prevent a Jaguar goal, and survived a number of other close calls.
The Xolos benefited from a poor officiating call in the first half when a brilliant goal by the Jaguares' Franco Arizala on a breakaway was overturned when he was whistled for knocking over Xolo defender José González. But the defender had actually fallen down on his own; Arizala then headed the ball over the advancing Saucedo and easily tapped it into the net. González now has played deciding roles in the outcome of the Xolos' last two games, as he scored last week in Tijuana's 2-1 victory over Atlante.
Playoff scenario story.
Xolo defender José González scored on a header off a corner kick in the 13th minute and Joe Corona scored six minutes later on a pass from José Sand to give Tijuana a 2-1 victory over Atlante on Saturday night in Estadio Caliente.
The Xolos missed numerous opportunities to pad their lead, and Francisco Fonseca beat Xolo goalie Cirilo Saucedo to score for Atlante in the 60th minute. The Xolos' defense, the best in the league, pretty much shut down Atlante after that.
It was González's first game for the Xolos.
Story on Xolos' playoff hopes
Game story, Frontera (PDF).
The Tijuana Xolos lost to Pachuca 1-0 Friday on a corner kick that never should have taken place. Unmarked Argentine defender Javier Muñoz Mustafá (right)scored for the home team at the 61:41 mark after Segundo Alejandro Castillo's header off a corner kick bounced off Xolo goalie Cirilo Saucedo's chest. Pachuca's victory moved the Tuzos to 6th place in the standings, while the Xolos' loss moved them from sixth to seventh, and they could fall further depending on other game results this weekend.
[Update, April 2: As a result of Toluca's 3-1 to Santos Laguna, the Xolos remain in seventh place with 20 points. Both Toluca and Cruz Azul, recovering after a horrendous start, are essentially tied for eighth with 18 points.]
The corner kick that resulted in the Tuzos' winning goal never should have occurred, because the ball went out of bounds after hitting the foot of the Tuzos' Marco Bueno after bouncing off Xolo defender Miguel Almazán. It should have been a Xolos' goal kick. Univision Deportes broadcasters noted that they were made aware of the officiating error by a Twitter follower.
However, it could be said that the Tuzos deserved to win the game, as they controlled the game in midfield and forced intercepted pass by intercepted pass by the Xolos whenever the Xolos got close to the Tuzo goal. Saucedo made save after save in the game. But this game dramatically exposed the Xolos' offensive weaknesses.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Xolos' current sixth-place showing, which now guarantees they will stay in Mexican soccer's first division, shows the good coaching job being done by Antonio Mohamed and good player selection by the team's front office. Since Mohamed took over midway last season, the team has only lost two games, and they were to the teams that played in last season's title series, the champion Tigres of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon and Santos Laguna.
The Xolos now have a record of five wins, five ties and two losses, with five games left in the clausura season. The team had two wins and six ties under Mohamed last (apertura) season. He came in after Coach Joaquín del Olmo was fired after losing 2-0 at home to the Estudiantes Tecos, a terrible team that is likely to be relegated to the second division at the end of this season. Del Olmo's record was one win, five losses and three ties.
Xolo highlights of last year and half, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Tijuana Xolos beat Atlas 2-0 on a first half header by Pepe Sand and a second-half goal by Raúl Enríquez. The home victory guaranteed that the Xolos will not be sent down to the second division. The Xolos could even make the playoffs; they currently are in sixth place, and the first eight teams qualify. Tijuana travels to seventh-place Pachuca on Saturday.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Sand's goal came off a corner kick that was first headed by Mauro Gerk.
The Estudiantes Tecos of the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, who lost 4-0 to Monterrey, are still the most likely team to be sent down, although Atlas still could be sent down if the Tecos start winning and Atlas keeps losing. Relegation table.
Relegation story and table.
Lucas Lobos scored on a penalty kick in the ninth minute to lead the Tigres of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León to a 1-0 victory over the Tijuana Xolos on Saturday in Monterrey. The penalty was caused when defender Javier Gandolfi hit the ball with his hand in the penalty area. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Still, the loss by the Estudiantes Tecos to Morelia on Friday made it even more unlikely the Xolos would be relegated.
The Xolos, who had two players red-carded, a third go out with an injury in extra time and game-saving goalie Cirilo Saucedo (right) finishing the game hurt, still managed to tie América 1-1 with a courageous defensive stand at Caliente Stadium in Tijuana on Friday night.
The game started badly for the Xolos when top scorer Pepe Sand was sent out of the game for elbowing América defender Oswaldo Vizcarrondo in the throat, right in front of an official at the 5:59 mark. Still, the Xolos, playing one man down, played a scoreless first half.
In the second half, a foul by Vizcarrondo near the penalty area essentially turned into a corner kick for the Xolos. But the corner then wound up turning into a breakaway for América. Christian Benítez, running down the middle but who still had a defender between him and the goal, passed to Raúl Alonso Jiménez, who had outrun defender Juan Carlos Núñez, who inexplicably decided to pursue the passer instead of the man receiving the ball. Saucedo came up to try to stop Jiménez but the América player tapped in an easy goal at the 16:40 mark.
Just when things looked lost, the Xolos scored on their next possession after Fernando Arce threaded a pass to an open Joe Corona inside the penalty area. When Corona's shot bounced off goalie Moisés Alberto Muñoz, Duvier Riascos (right) was there to head it in at the 18:01 mark. The Xolos just missed another goal minutes later when Egidio Arévalo's close-in, angled shot bounced off the right goalpost and then the goalie's legs. Arévalo then was given a red card at for spiking Paul Nicolás Aguilar's leg at the 27:15 mark. Still, the defense stepped up.
Saucedo kept snuffing out attack after attack through acrobatic saves that apparently contributed to his injury; time was called for him to be treated at the 42-minute mark.
Although he appeared to be able to move only with difficulty, he could not be replaced because the Xolos had made all their permitted substitutions. At the 45-minute mark, five minutes of extra time were added. Then, at the 48:30 mark, defender Javier Gandolfi left the game with a leg injury. The game ended at the 51:31 mark with the Xolos three players down.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Xolos coach full of pride for team, says it still dominated game when a man down. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Relegation standings story.
Update, March 12: Arévalo says he should not have been expelled. Sand earlier said he should not have been. TV announcers for the game said both deserved to get red cards. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
A goal where Edgar Castillo knocked his own rebound off his shoulder and striker Pepe Sand then knocked the ball in with his stomach helped give the Tijuana Xolos a 2-0 victory over the Estudiantes Tecos of the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. The game was played in the Tecos' 3 de Marzo stadium in Zapopan a day before March 3. The university was founded March 3, 1935.
Sand scored his goal at the 67:28 mark after Castillo's footwork brought the ball just to the left of the goal, where his shot was knocked in the air by goalie Christián Martínez. Castillo tried to head the rebound in but hit it with his right shoulder instead right to Sand, who was the mouth of the goal and knocked it in with this stomach.
Later, at the 80:11 mark, Egidio Arévalo scored a goal from just above the top of the penalty area. Univision Deportes named him the player of the game.
The Tecos are the team likeliest to drop to the second division. The Xolos' victory put so much distance between the Tecos and the Xolos that the Xolos are virtually assured of staying in Mexico's top league.
The game had a San Diego angle besides featuring Xolo player Joe Corona: one of the announcers said Friday would have been the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss, Ted Geisel, who died in San Diego in 1991. The announcer pronounced one of the titles of Dr. Seuss's books in English, "Green Eggs and Ham," while making no mention of the movie that opened Friday, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax." The announcers also said that Xolos' coach Antonio Mohamed was unsure why his team does not seem to be able to win at home, but thought that perhaps playing on artificial turf had something to do with it. (Does Caliente Stadium need some of the Truffula trees featured in "The Lorax" around it?)
The Tecos dominated midfield in the game and got numerous free kicks near the penalty area due to Xolo yellow-card fouls, but never could score.
Next up for the Xolos, on Friday at home: a revived América, which has won three straight games and is second in the standings. Tijuana is fifth.
The Tijuana Xolos continued their tradition of not winning at home, playing to a 1-1 tie with Toluca. Former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's Grupo Caliente sponsors the Xolos; Toluca was his team when he grew up in Mexico state.
Sweetwater High graduate Joe Corona scored the Xolos' goal after a cross from Duvier Riascos, but Iván Alonso tied it for Toluca after a Martín Ramagnoli pass from near midfield found the Xolo defense flatfooted and left him all alone against the goalie. The Xolos played a defensive second half after Juan Pablo Santiago received his second yellow card and was expelled from the game, causing coach Antonio Mohamed to substitute defender Miguel Almazán for Corona. Game story, Frontera (PDF).
The Xolos still advanced in the relegation standings because the hapless Estudiantes Tecos lost again. The Xolos play the Tecos Friday in Guadalajara.
Pepe Sand and Duvier Riascos scored for Tijuana in the second half and Querétaro missed some golden scoring opportunities as the Tijuana Xolos won an away game at Querétaro 2-0. The win helped Tijuana advance in its efforts to avoid relegation to the lower division despite the Tecos Estudiantes' 2-1 win Friday over Atlante.
Two mindless fouls by Querétaro gave Tijuana a free kick near the top of the penalty box early in the second half. Joe Corona tapped it to nearby Edgar Castillo, who tapped it back to him, who passed it around Querétaro's wall to an open Fernando Arce, who did not kick the ball with the force he meant to (the Univision Deportes announcer called it a pifia, or muff), but it still trickled its way to Sand near the goal, who kicked the ball in at the 5:25 mark. Later, a long kick by Xolo goalie Cirilo Saucedo found its way to Sand past midfield, and either a backwards kick by him or the ball deflecting off a defender sent the ball into the path of a bounding Duvier Riascos, who beat his defender and easily kicked the ball past advancing goalie Liborio Sánchez at the 8:35 mark.
In the first half, Querétaro had numerous opportunities, including one where Víctor Francisco Villa shot hit the left goalpoast at the 34:39 mark and the ball bounced back to Saucedo. Villa in fact started celebrating what he thought was a goal until he saw the rebound.
The Xolos now have three wins, three ties and one loss.
The win puts their average at 1.25, better than seven other teams that are trying to avoid being relegated to the lower division. (Each win is worth three points, each tie worth one, and each loss zero.)
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Story explaining relegation.
The Tijuana Xolos tied Cruz Azul 0-0 at Caliente Stadium in Tijuana on Sunday. The tie continued an unfortunate Xolo tradition of failing to win at home; wins are needed for the Xolos to remain in Mexican soccer's top division. Still, because of losses by the Estudiantes Tecos and Querétaro, the Xolos gained a little more room in the relegation standings.
Latest relegation table.
Like often happened last season, the Xolos missed opportunity after opportunity to score. When late in the game, the Xolos' Raúl Enríquez had a golden opportunity near the goal, his shot was blocked on the ground by the hand by Cruz Azul's Israel Castro, a penalty kick that was not called. Later, Egidio Arévalo had a clear, close-in shot on goal and kicked the ball over the crossbar. Earlier, forward Duvier Riascos had open players to pass to on either side of the goal but decided to shoot with defenders in front of him anyway, launching a shot that was easily stopped by the goalie.
Game story, Frontera.