Club Tijuana kicked off the Clausura season of the Liga MX in the same fashion they ended last season. The reigning champions remain just as cold, calculating, and solid as last season. Xolos do head into this season with the disadvantage of having less time to do a proper pre-season. Due to their deep run in the Apertura season of the Liga MX, The Xoloitzcuiltes only had time to do a one week pre-season training camp in San Diego and schedule one preparation game. Most other Liga MX teams did a 2-3 week pre-season and play 3-4 preparation games.

The Xolos started out the defense of their championship with a visit to Puebla. Manager Antonio Mohammed sent out the same starting 11 from the championship series against Toluca. Tijuana directors were able to retain the entire squad that celebrated the team’s first championship.

Xolos controlled the midfield with short passes until the front men could find space to chase down a long pass. The defense still looked solid and controlled Puebla’s attacks. Tijuana’s main offensive weapon, Duvier Riascos, opened up the scoring after dribbling between two defenders and shooting from long range. The ball curled into the bottom corner of the goal to give the champs the lead. xolosvspuebla2

Xolos doubled their lead a few minutes later after a perfectly worked corner kick. The ball was played in low to the top of the box where Javier Gandolfi was at. Gandolfi then let the ball roll past him to were Christian Pellerano was at waiting to strike the ball past the Puebla goalkeeper.

Puebla did get a goal back before halftime. Xolos goalkeeper gave up a rebound after a Puebla corner kick. The rebound was tapped into an open goal. For the second half Puebla went all out in search of the equalizing goal. Xolos defense remained just as solid as last season and were able to hold off Puebla. Several times Saucedo was forced to make big saves.

But in the end Xolos walked away with the three points. This is an important start to the season for the reigning champs. Xolos are going to need to take as many points as possible from the first few matches before the long trips to South America begin for the Copa Libertadores.

Written by Staff Writter Jonathan Avilies

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