The last time Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles played in a Copa MX match things didn't end so well.
The Xolos were on the verge of earning a point with what appeared to be ending in a tie. Instead, Tijuana lost the chance at gaining points in the standings and eventually lost to Celaya FC on a late own goal.
Xolos defender Richard Ruiz sent the ball into his own net in the dying moments of a Copa MX Group 6 first round match. Ruiz tried to block a Celaya shot. He did so, partially, but the ball didn't go where he want it to. He redirected it into his net.
The Xolos are hoping for better things when Tijuana gets a shot at redemption when it hosts Celaya in the second leg of the home-and-home series Tuesday night.
And the Xolos should like their chances this time.
After all, Tijuana has had favorable results while playing on its home artificial turf at Estadio Caliente.
The Xolos are unbeaten at home in the Copa MX, a domestic tournament featuring teams from the Mexican Primera Division and Liga de Ascenso. Tijuana played to a scoreless draw against Merida in its first home Copa MX match. A draw perhaps doesn't say much about the Xolos quality of play at home while using mostly backups and players from its reserves for this tournament.
But there is something about playing at home that Tijuana seems to have taken advantage of. The Xolos are also unbeaten at home in the regular tournament, the 2012 Apertura. They beat Puebla, Pumas UNAM and, most recently, Tigres UANL last week. So, playing in front of a home crowd appears to give the Xolos an advantage. At least that's what the team likes to think.
"The team is at ease and is happy with the home victories," said Xolos defender Carlos Nunez. "We have started the tournaments with good games and good results at our home stadium. We are hoping to continue to do the same and also hope to get better results on the road."
The Xolos do have one win on the road in the Copa MX, a 1-0 outing at Merida. Take away the last minute own goal by Ruiz in the last road game and Tijuana could have been alone on top of the group standings. Instead, the Xolos enter the Week 5 matchup tied for first place with Pumas and Celaya. All three teams have five points. Celaya holds the tie breaker over both Pumas and Tijuana with having scored more goals (two) than the other teams. Pumas and Celaya both have a plus-1 goal differential while Xolos is even.
That means coach Antonio Mohamed's squad needs all the points it can get, especially at home in the middle of a busy week. The Xolos travel to Mexico City to face Club America Saturday in a Week 6 match.
"Right now, we are focused on this game (Celaya)," Nunez said. "But we are also mentally ready for this double duty this week."
SAUCEDO AND AREVALO NOMINATED FOR GOLDEN BALL
Xolos goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo and former Xolos midfielder Egidio Arevalo are nominated for the golden ball award given to the best of the best in the Mexican First Division during the last year.
Saucedo is up for best goalkeeper against Monterrey's Jonathan Orozco, Santos Laguna's Oswaldo Sanchez and Jesus de Jose Corona of Cruz Azul. Saucedo had the better numbers in terms of goals allowed out of the group. He received 11 goals in 17 games.
Arevalo, who signed with Italian side Palermo earlier this summer, is up against Jesus Zavala of Monterrey and Juan Pablo Rodriguez of Santos for the Golden Ball. Arevalo was nominated last year but Rodriguez ultimately was the winner.
Arevalo had extensive playing time with Tijuana in the last tournament. He was considered by many as the best player on the team as the club's attack mostly originated or played through Arevalo in the midfield.