Will Queretaro prove to be a surprise team in the Apertura 2019? Getting a road win at Tijuana would suggest they can be.
Queretaro is trying to erase the bad taste left in its mouth from last season’s disastrous campaign. The Gallos Blancos finished near the bottom of the table in the Clausura 2019 after making the playoffs in the Apertura 2018.
Queretaro stole a surprising victory at the Estadio Nemesio Diez last week, beating Toluca with two second-half goals. Colombian winger Fabian Castillo – a former Xolos player – scored a beauty from long distance in minute 65 and Mexican Alonso Escoboza scored the clincher in minute 72, just 2 minutes after Toluca defender Rodrigo Salinas was red-carded.
The Gallos Blancos arrive at the border town with 3 important points, perhaps a hint that Queretaro will be a much-improved team this tournament after only earning 11 points in the Clausura 2019. The new-look defense was led by veteran Jair Pereira (acquired from the Chivas) and the team – goalkeeper Gil Alcala – kept a clean sheet.
The Xolos are coming off a road win in their season opener, beating Puebla rather easily 3-1 with goals from midfielder Washington Camacho, striker Ariel Nahuelpan and sub Angel Sepulveda.
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The Xolos were not on Cloud 9 per for too long, however, as they were knocked out of the Leagues Cup by the L.A. Galaxy on Tuesday night. The two teams played to a 2-2 tie but the Galaxy advanced after winning the penalty kick shoot-out. No doubt, Oscar Pareja’s men were left with a bitter taste, particularly since L.A. was playing primarily with back-ups.
Coach Pareja knows that the Xolos goal is to reach the playoffs for a second straight season, so they mush shake off the Galaxy game and turn their focus to the Gallos Blancos.
The majority of teams that visit Estadio Caliente in Tijuana have trouble with the pace of the game because of the artificial turf. That could be a factor in favor of the Xolos. Still licking their wounds after the Leagues Cup loss, I believe the Xolos will work extra hard to avoid a losing streak, especially since they are playing at home.