TIJUANA, Mexico – Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente completed their preseason with a 1-0 victory over Atlante FC at Caliente stadium Wednesday night. The Xolos concluded their preseason with four wins as they prepare for the upcoming Apertura 2012 tournament.
“The most important achievement this preseason is that we did not receive a goal,” said Coach Antonio Mohamed at the conclusion of the game. “We played a very aggressive game. Joe Corona had a great game. That makes me happy because he’s a player we need up front, that I can mix in with some of the new signings we’ve had this preseason.”
U.S. Men’s National Team player Edgar Castillo started the game as a winger and had several centers to goal. Mohamed brought in Americans Greg Garza and Corona in the second half who made a great duo combining good passes to get through the Atlante defense.
In the middle “el Turco” went with his veteran play makers, Uruguayan international Egido Arevalo, Brazi-Mexican Leandro Augusto, and Tijuana-native Fernando Arce.
“We’re starting to catch our rhythm. Today’s game was a bit complicated. We played a team that takes good possession of the ball and at times put us against the wall,” said Arce, the former Mexican men’s national team player. “But we were able to score the goal. However, we still have work to do.”
The visiting team began with control of the midfield making the better runs on Cirilo Saucedo’s goal. A combination of Paraguayan Osvaldo Martinez, Peruvian Andres Mendoza and Ecuadorian Michael Arroyo were breaking through the Xolos mid players but coming up short in the final 20 yards.
Arroyo had several shots on goal making Saucedo dive several times. But the Xolos would not give in and the midfield commanded by Arevalo began pushing the ball forward. Richard Ruiz and Castillo had several runs on the bands to center but came up short as well.
Both teams battled back and forth trying to get on the board. Argentine Jose Sand was fouled right outside the penalty box to set up a free kick for Xolos. Augusto took the shot to goalkeeper Armando Navarrete’s left. The former Club America keeper dove but the ball entwined itself in the net giving the canine squad the 1-0 lead.
Atlante would not give in and Martinez had a shot on goal that forced Saucedo to dive sending the ball to a corner kick. The Potros did not take advantage of the opportunity and the half ended with Xolos leading the game.
Mohamed made a complete change in the line-up, substituting all players except Castillo and Augusto. The team took a few minutes to adjust and find rhythm. Mohamed brought in Garza who made a big impression, recovering loose balls and connecting well with Corona.
Atlante coach Mario Garcia brought in striker Francisco Fonseca in the second half to add to his attack. The former SL Benfica and Tigres UANL player had a good opportunity to tie the game after recovering a loose ball and going head-to-head with Saucedo. Fonseca’s shot went wide. Atlante ended the game with 10 men when Ezequiel Cuevas received a red card for elbowing Garza.
The Xolos kept the 1-0 lead to win their fourth preseason game. The canines will face Monarcas Morelia at Morelos stadium on January 6, 2012 to open the Apertura 2012. They return to Caliente stadium on January 15, 2012 to take on CF Monterrey. Xolos have a hard task this tournament as they attempt to avoid relegation at the end of the season.