Club Tijuana stay unbeaten in Libertadores after knocking off world champion Corinthians

TijuanaGandolfi (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

The Club Tijuana Cinderella story just keeps getting better and more unbelievable.

The Mexican champions posted their third straight Copa Libertadores on Wednesday, beating reigning World Champions Corinthians 1-0 in Tijuana.

The victory improved the Xolos’ record to a perfect 3-0 in the group stage, five points ahead of Corinthians in a group that includes Colombian champion Millonarios and Bolivian side San Jose.

Javier Gandolfi delivered the game-winner when he headed home a Pablo Aguilar pass to give the Xolos the lead.

Corinthians pressed for a goal, but never could break through a Tijuana defense that held up well despite missing injured American defender Edgar Castillo.

Joey Corona started and played 90 minutes for Club Tijuana, while fellow American Greg Garza came off the bench and played five minutes.

Club Tijuana will face Corinthians in Brazil on March 13th and a win would lock up a Round of 16 spot for the Xolos.

What did you think if Wednesday’s match? Impressed with Club Tijuana’s Libertadores run? See the Xolos making a serious push to win the whole tournament? Think Corinthians turns things around in the return match-up?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, Mexican Soccer, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Club Tijuana stay unbeaten in Libertadores after knocking off world champion Corinthians

  1. beto says:

    damn! xolos keep rocking.. what was it 2 years ago they were promoted from the mexican second division? incredible.

  2. A says:

    I mean it’s a nice win, but these are just the group stages with a lot of awful teams and the good ones don’t take them seriously because they still advance anyways.

    Corinthians is stacked–Pato, Danilo, etc. When the games matter I expect Tijuana is knocked out pretty quickly.

    • Evan W says:

      Although Corinthians will most likely advance out of their group, they still have to play Tijuana again and will have to play Millonarios in Bogota. The backline of Corinthians is slower than last year (especially captain Alessandro who is now 34) and it showed against San Jose at altitude. Bogota is over 8,500 ft and Millonarios are a better team than San Jose. With Chicao out, Castan now playing for Roma and Cassio not on top form right now, anything can happen.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      I don’t know…..this Tijuana team is really good and DEEP and their coach, Mohamed, is great. If they can get Castillo back and keep all their people healthy…they will most likely get some new players to enforce themselves for the knock out rounds.

      Beating Corinthians is no joke, going to Colombia and winning their FIRST ever Libertadores game was a great 1st step….they have to play in Brazil next week so we’ll see how they do there….and then they get to play in Bolivia vs San Jose and at home vs Millonarios of Colombia. I think they can make it to the semis easy…..and if they do it means more and more games for Benny Corona, Castillo when he comes back, Garza and even guys like Alejandro Guido, Esteban Rodriguez, Bryan de la Fuente and Jeffrey Payeras. All former USYNT players…I got excited to see Greg Garza in the starting line up when I looked up the gamecast on ESPNFC only to then see he was on the dressed 18 but started on the bench….glad he got in the game for a bit tho and helped keep the lead

    • Doug Wenzel says:

      Seeing as how those that qualify for the next round are seeded based on points achieved in the group round, your comment is kinda silly. A great team would want to pound opponents in this round to get the easiest path to the final.

      This year, Corinthians aren’t doing that.

    • Gnarls says:

      Didn’t Pato play last night? I swear I saw him on the pitch.

  3. Craig says:

    Anyone know how Corona played? I really feel that he could bring some creativity off the bench for the USMNT like Benny did last WC cycle. Have to like all the PT he’s getting…

  4. Bobb says:

    This is getting ridiculous… it wasn’t too long ago that the Xolos didn’t even exist and now they’re undefeated in Copa Lib having beaten the Club World Cup champions… someone make a movie about this already.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      LOL I know whomever made “Pelada” the story about the 2 College soccer players backpacking around the world to play pickup games or “The Jay DeMeritt Story” needs to figure out a story about this.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Money talks.You know who Jorge Hank Rhon is?

      • Doug Wenzel says:

        Yes, but having a plan and consistently executing it helps, too. It also helps to have a deep pocket who remains a fan and doesn’t think he’s the expert. They have brought in top managerial talent and let them get to work.

      • Patrick Starr says:

        QPR aint talking much

  5. Eli says:

    I was at the game and the overall experience was great. The Xolos have made headlines that the city can be proud of. I hope they can continue to progress.

    • Gnarls says:

      Are you a TJ native or did you come from SD? I’ve been thinking about seeing a game, but you know, TJ…

      • bryan says:

        just take a bus (they have some specifically for SD residents). it’ll bring you to the stadium and then right back to san diego. and the area around the stadium has been cleaned up, you’ll be just fine.

        • PBJOHN says:

          We walk across the border and its a $7.00 taxi ride to the stadium. Plenty of cabs back to the border and its a 10 to 15 minute wait to cross back to San Diego

  6. Poster says:

    They were a second division team only two seasons ago, and now they are the reigning liga MX champions. Currently Copa Libertadores participants as well, thats not too bad.

    • chuck says:

      same story as Tijuana itself. Two decades ago it was a hellhole only good for underage americans to get drunk and a brothel haven for truckers passing by and now it’s a fair-sized business-oriented city.

      Thanks largely to the Hank family and its political/economic influence, mind you.

    • Gnarls says:

      And they didn’t even exist 7 years ago. They’re younger than TFC. How’s that for perspective.

  7. DUDEEROO says:

    I am very impressed. I watched the Xolos last year and liked what I saw. Now, I am going to make them the team I follow in MX because I don’t really have any there I like. When you add some Mexican Americans = awesome.

    I’m about as pale as casper, but I recognize that the Mexican Americans (and other latin Americans) are the future of US soccer. I take my soccer team to play in a heavy hispanic indoor league during the winter so that they can learn from them. It works. Some of these Mexican American kids are absolutely phenomenal.

    • kev says:

      “I recognize that the Mexican Americans (and other latin Americans) are the future of US soccer. ”

      They are part of the future, but are by no means THE future. The Mexican people have not created many elite players in the world, especially considering the large population and soccer fanatacism of the country. Why would we expect different in the United States, where their population is much smaller and the soccer culture is not nearly as strong?

      • biff says:

        That’s right. What we need are more players who were born in Germany? That is where are energy for developing the future of US soccer should be focused.

      • Jay says:

        Perhaps not player of the year elite but Mexico has developed players that have played in Champions league teams

      • bryan says:

        kind of naive in a way. hispanic players probably are the immediate future of the national team. that’s not to say they’ll be stars, but i bet you we see a lot more hispanic players in the USA set up. and as the sport becomes more popular, then we’ll start seeing more white and black people, but as the hispanic population continues to rise, and with their passion for the game from the start, these are the players who are going to be striving to be professional soccer players.

        the problem before was getting them to want to represent the USA, and we’re now starting to see a large number of hispanic players who identify more with the USA than the country of their ancestry.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          It is all about developing a soccer based culture. It is a language, a way of thinking and seeing. Like learning a second language later in life, someone coming into soccer at a later date is at a huge disadvantage that is very difficult to overcome. On the contrary, if you grow up watching and playing, the sport, you become fluent… the vision, timing, rhythm and touch are literally burned into your synapses and come naturally. When these things are instinctual, a player becomes free and it is much easier to be creative and to express oneself.

          So… the future of US Soccer lies with players for whom soccer is their first language, who cut their teeth in a home where it is a passion that is lived and breathed. At this moment, these homes already exist in this country within a “Latin American” sub-culture. (of which the greatest % is of course Mexican American.) This is and has been a part of this nation for a long time, but being outside the mainstream, until quite recently, has largely been under-utilized, maybe even ignored.

          Until the sport makes inroads into more homes/the mainstream of our nations culture, this will continue to be the case.

    • Lost in Space says:

      The US (more so than most countries) has a very diverse ethnicity. The future of US Soccer will be the blending of the Latin Flair, the German/English Strenght, Italian Vision/understanding, and the American Grit/Athleticism. When this finally occurs the TEAM will reap the bennifits and be able to adapt to whomever they play.
      I’m not talking about a blending of these atributes into a single player…but rather a diverse pool of players who have grown up Idolizing the Messi’s, Ronaldo’s, Schwinstigers, Lams, Ozils, Lampards, Gerards, Roony, etc…of the world.
      Soccer/Football culture in the US is growing…and soon (maybe 10 yrs) we’ll have the coaches and players to truly compete with the worlds powers.
      Our time is coming…

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  9. Casey says:

    Never thought I’d have a Liga MX team I cared about, but I’m enjoying following the Xolos. Now, if they’d only acquire Herc Gomez, Gringo Torres, Benji Joya and Orzoco Fiscal, they would completely capture the attention of US fans.

    I think the return match against Corintians will be really tough in Brazil and the Altitude in San Jose will be tough to deal with (are they in La Paz?), but they should do well at home against Millionarios.

    • Doug Wenzel says:

      There is a 2 week break for FIFA international play before the game in Toluca (a few days before playing in Oruro). If they hold a training camp at altitude in the Nevado Toluca National Park during those two weeks, they may stand a chance in Bolivia.

    • Chuck says:

      They just need Boca as CB

  10. K-Town says:

    I have a feeling Xolos have taken any chance MLS ever had to expand to San Diego. I think San Diego have found their team.

    • K-Town says:

      Go Xolos!

    • bryan says:

      honestly, it’s 100% true. i don’t think MLS would be smart to move to San Diego now. Xolos have a firm grip on this area.

    • Chuck says:

      Let’s make a trade with liga mx: we send Chivas USA + allocation money and DP slots, we get Xolos ;)

    • USAmr says:

      Exactly this! I started watching with interest the first year they were promoted to the top division. They play a fun style of soccer and it’s much easier for to get to Estadio Caliente than to the Home Depot Center.
      Add the connection with the USMNT and local connections with players from the SDSU Aztecs (Corona, if I remember correctly) and this is becoming San Diego’s team. I hear local soccer fans talking about them more and more all the time.

  11. Eli says:

    I came from SD. You can walk across the border and take a short cab ride. You won’t be the only one crossing for the match.

  12. Travis in Miami says:

    Must be the northern most Libertadores match. I wonder if NYC isn’t a closer game for a team like Corinthians (too lazy to look it up)? MLS into the competition is too ludicrous once the level is deemed worthy enough.

  13. PBJOHN says:

    All I can say is Joe Corona was THE MAN last night. Best game he has played to date. Man of the match. Hopefully see him in Denver vs Costa Rica on the field not just the bench.