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Pick: Atletico de San Luis to win (+260)
Club Tijuana started their Clausura 2023 campaign with a 1-1 draw against Cruz Azul. In their next game, they lost 3-0 against FC Juarez. After that, Club Tijuana have drawn three games on the trot with the latest one coming against Necaxa,
Atletico de San Luis kicked off their season with a 3-2 win over Necaxa before playing out a goalless draw against CD Guadalajara. CF Monterrey handed Atletico de San Luis their first loss of the season, after which the club held Tigres UANL to a draw and then won 2-0 against Club Puebla last week.
The odds favor the hosts and even the records suggest that Club Tijuana might nick this, but it seems that Atletico San Luis will continue their top-four charge this Clausura season with a win over Club Tijuana.
There have only been ten Liga MX encounters between the two sides. Half of those encounters have ended in draws, including the last two times these sides met. Atletico de San Luis have won on three occasions, while Club Tijuana have won only twice
In the Apertura 2021 season, Atletico de San Luis beat Club Tijuana 4-1 at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras Ramirez. The two sides have met four times at the Estadio Caliente. Three of those games have ended in draws and Atletico de San Luis have won once in the Apertura 2020 season.
Club Tijuana’s only wins over Atletico de San Luis in Liga MX came in the Apertura 2019 and Clausura 2012 seasons.
In the Apertura 2022 season, Club Tijuana’s home and away records were almost the same. In eight home games, the side won two, drew two, and lost four. In the other nine away games, Club Tijuana won two, drew three, and lost four. They scored nine goals at home and the same number on the road.
However, Club Tijuana have not won in their own backyard since beating Mazatlan FC in July 2022. Their winless streak at home was extended to eight games after a 0-0 draw against Pumas UNAM two weeks ago.
Out of these eight games, five were draws and only three were losses. Converting these draws to wins at home will be a task Club Tijuana will focus on this season. They will be pleased to start that process against Atletico de San Luis, but several aspects will make that tough.
Club Tijuana manager Ricardo Valino has used two formations this season so far. The Argentinian coach started the season with a 4-2-3-1 and then switched to an orthodox 4-4-2, which saw his side lose 3-0 against FC Juarez.
The 52-year-old instantly reverted to the 4-2-3-1 for the next two games before switching back to a 4-4-2 in the last game against Necaxa, which ended in a 1-1 draw. His side looks more fluid, flexible and comfortable in the 4-2-3-1 and so far, his orthodox formation has led to nothing positive.
There will be a void in midfield when Club Tijuana take on Atletico de San Luis next and that will be because Federico Lertora will not be eligible to play this game after he was sent off in the closing stages of the previous game against Necaxa.
The midfielder has been a rock in the Club Tijuana midfield and has started all games this season, playing the full 90 minutes, sitting just in front of the defense. Jose Vazquez could come into the side as a replacement.
In the Apertura 2022 season, Atletico de San Luis finished 13th and they were only a point away from securing their qualification for the Apertura playoffs. This time around, entering the playoffs will be the bare minimum target.
A more optimistic target for Atletico de San Luis will be the Top Four. A win against Club Tijuana in the next game will propel the side from sixth to fourth place. That could be temporary and they could fall down a few spots if the other teams with a game in hand win.
However, an ambitious goal for the top four can boost their work rate and guarantee them a playoff spot this time around. In the Apertura season, Atletico de San Luis won only four games all season. If they win against Club Tijuana next, it will be their third win in six games.
A victory against Club Tijuana can launch Atletico de San Luis up into fourth place but a fumble will not give them the momentum they need for at least the next three rounds. After the game against Club Tijuana, Atletico de San Luis will host a frustrated Club America side.
After that, they will welcome Apertura 2022 playoff quarter-finalists Santos Laguna and then travel to play Deportivo Toluca. An evidently tough round of fixtures awaits Atletico de San Luis, making victory in the next game the highest priority at this point.
Atletico de San Luis is a tad weak against major sides. They went down 3-1 against CF Monterrey earlier this season, but they are capable of keeping promising attacks at bay when it is their day. That happened two weeks ago when the side held Tigres UANL to a goalless draw.
After the departure of their top scorer Abel Hernandez, Leo was reeled in as a replacement. In five games, the striker has scored two goals, which is already more than what other Atletico de San Luis players had during the Apertura season.
Leo has already netted against Necaxa and CF Monterrey. Juan Sanabria, Ricardo Monreal, and Javier Guemez have also been on the scoresheet once this season. Leo would love to see his teammates jumping in on the scoresheet with him.
The Brazilian's tally would have been three, but he missed a penalty against Club Puebla last week. However, the striker still looks sharp and ready for the season.
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● Teams: Club Tijuana vs Atletico de San Luis
● Location: Estadio Caliente
● Time: Friday, February 10 at 10:10 pm ET
● How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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