TIJUANA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente host Toluca in the Estadio Caliente on Thursday evening (8:00pm local pacific time) in the first leg of the Clausura 2014 quarterfinals. The Xolos will be making their return to the playoffs after a whole year’s absence; last time they participated in the Liga MX playoffs they went all the way and won the Apertura 2012 championship.
The Xoloitzcuintles finished the season in seventh place and are matched up against the league’s number two side Toluca. The opening match of this series will be in Tijuana while the conclusion will take place in Toluca’s Nemezio Diez stadium.
The Xolos will want to take advantage of their home field advantage and grab a lead to take to Toluca. Club Tijuana’s home form has been one of the best, if not the best in all of Mexico where they have only lost twice in all competitions in the last calendar year.
The problem that the Xolos face is their away from home form. The team has only been able to get one win on the road in the last 16 months. This is why it will be important for Tijuana to get a positive result from the first leg match.
The visiting Toluca will be looking to make a statement in this season’s playoffs. In his first season as manager, club legend Jose Saturnino Cardozo took Toluca to the semifinals where they were eliminated by Club America in the Apertura 2013 season. Now in his second semester in the hot seat, Cardozo led Toluca to a runners-up finish in the CONCACAF Champions League. Cardozo as a player won plenty of trophies for Toluca and is hungry to win his first as a manager.
Toluca along with Cruz Azul were the two teams that completely dominated the league from start to finish. They did suffer a 3-1 loss to the Xoloitzcuintles back in week 14 of the Clausura 2014. Toluca did send out an alternative lineup to that match as they were concentrating on their CONCACAF Champions League campaign.