SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Tijuana Xoloitzcuitles have already accomplished their number one goal in this first half of 2013; to qualify to the knock-out stage of the Copa Libertadores. With that out of the way, now it's time to re-focus on the the domestic league where things have not been going so well.
Saturday night at 9:00 PM Club Tijuana is set to take on Santos Laguna in the Estadio Caliente. This game will be for week 13 of the Clausura 2013 tournament of the Liga MX.
Tijuana manger Antonio Mohamed rested and saved key players from the heights of Bolivia, players like Duvier Riascos, Joe Corona, Pablo Aguilar, Alfredo Moreno, and Cristian Pellerano. It is expected that Mohamed will use a strong squad to face the Clausura 2012 champions on Saturday.
The number one home field advantage that the Xoloitzcuitles have (the artificial turf); might not be a factor against this Santos Laguna team. While playing in the CONCACAF Champion's League semifinals, Santos traveled into Seattle Sounder's CenturyLink Field. The Sounders also use an artificial turf in their stadium, and Santos got to feel all of the effects just last Wednesday night. Santos managed to walk away with a 0-1 win in the first leg of that semifinal.
The surprising Santos are currently in fourth place of the Mexican league with 22 points. Most expected Santos to have a bad season since they brought in a brand new Portuguese manager that had no idea what the Mexican league was. But Pedro Caixinha
has this squad playing some quality football at the moment and practically in the playoffs already. A win for Santos will almost guarantee a playoff spot. But they will also be thinking of next week's midweek return game against the Sounders. They have a one goal lead to protect in order to make it to the CONCACAF Champion's League Final for a second year in a row.
The Xolos at the moment are outside the playoff zone by mere goal difference. They sit in the ninth position tied in points with number seven Morelia and number eight Monterrey. The great start to the season that the Tijuana side had has allowed them to still be around the playoff spots. But a win is necessary on Saturday night to keep those playoffs hopes alive.