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Club Tijuana beat Palmeiras to reach Copa Libertadores quarters

TijuanaPalmeiras (Reuters)


Tiny Club Tijuana made history last year by winning the Mexican League title in surprising fashion, but their accomplishment on Tuesday evening in Brazil may be just as impressive.

The Xolos beat Brazilian side Palmeiras, 2-1, in the second leg of their Copa Libertadores Round of 16 series, booking a place in the quarterfinals in the process. The victory was just the fourth by a Mexican club in Brazil in the history of the competition.

U.S. Men’s National Team members Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo both started for Club Tijuana in a match attended by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The German boss was treated to an impressive performance by the Xolos in what was a contentious and very physical affair that saw a dozen cards issued and countless hard fouls.

Corona played a part in the opening goal, starting the passing sequence in the penalty area that culminated in a Duvier Riascos shot that was spilled by Palmeiras goalkeeper Bruno for the opening goal.

The Xolos took control in the second half when Fernando Arce belted a volley from the top of the penalty arc to make the score 2-0, and leave Palmeiras needing three goals to survive.

The Brazilians could only manage a penalty before bowing out of the competition.

Club Tijuana will next face top seed Atletico Mineiro, led by Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, in a two-leg quarterfinal to be played later in the month. That series will force Corona and Castillo to miss the upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team camp, but considering Klinsmann was in Sao Paulo for Tuesday’s match, it is safe to say their standing with the national team is secure.

Here are the match highlights:


What did you think of the match? Impressed with Club Tijuana’s ability to come away with a result in a hostile environment? Hoping Corona and Castillo play a role in this summer’s World Cup qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What a howler on that first goal! Keeper wont sleep well after that one. The second by Arce was struck superbly. Lots of movement on that ball. Good job Xolos.

  2. Huge win. Great experience for those guys. Nice quick reactions and vision by Joe Benny on the first hi goal sequence

  3. A game between Xolos and Real Garcilaso of Peru would be great since they both share the same storyline. They both won the title in their first year in 1st Division and now are making a great run in their first Libertadores competition.

    • Almost the same storyline, Garcilaso is a year or two younger than Xolos, but Garcilaso finished 2nd in its tournament Descentralizado in Peru.. but both stories are amazing.. there should be a lot more on Garcilaso worldwide since they’re doing good things too.. I’m a Xolos fan from TJ.. 🙂

  4. I thought Castillo at left back played a very impressive match. He was cool with the ball under pressure and started several important breakouts.

  5. Congrats to the Xolos and especially our guys for playing key roles in such big games. This is invaluable experience they are gaining which is going to make our pool much, much deeper and our Nats program much better for it.

    Not to start or feed the hype monster but with all these young guys coming on in Europe, Mexico and MLS – are we headed to our Golden age team by the 2018 cycle? Many of these guys are young and much can change but the potential is exciting.

    • It’s not a sport of individuals, it’s a team sport. Over the years, we’ve seen certain talented South American and European teams become perennial underachievers, not because of a lack of talent, but because of a lack of cohesiveness.

      You can contrast with Spain, where if you aren’t playing for Madrid or Barcelona playing in La Liga, it can really hamper your chances at routinely playing for the national team. I strongly believe this is the reason why Fabregas cut a rug for Barcelona so quickly and why Torres (along with his precipitous drop in form) was on the outside looking in, even after wrapping up his last season at `Pool.

      Team cohesiveness is much more important than individual talent, especially in a game with 11 players on a side. The continued growth of MLS will ultimately decide the answer to your question.

      • MLS will never reach the level necessary until they adopt a Promotion and Relegation system. Simply no motivation to progress past a certain point, except to enrich the corporate owners.

      • I fail to see how Pro/Relegation really plays a part in developing talent, especially when top MLS players head to Europe (where they have Pro/Rel) as soon as they can.

      • Transfers for a bigger pay day and to play on better sides makes a difference. With a deeper Nats pool call-ups seem like pretty good motivation as well. Heck, decent win bonuses can make a difference too.

        If Promotion/Relegation was the guaranteeing force for footie supremacy then the SPL is sure as heck doing it wrong.

      • Just because you say something untrue doesn’t make it true. Soccer is played on a field. It is not played in an anglophile/eurosnob fan’s mind. Pro/rel has nothing to do with competition.

        These are professionals who are playing for their jobs every time they step on a practice field. Have you seen the roster turnover from a last place finish in MLS? It’s about the same as the roster turnover from a relegated team. How is that not motivational?

      • Furthermore, pro/rel doesn’t guarantee competition. Look at Spain (La Liga) and Scotland (SPL). On the other hand, you have Germany, whose financial structure is far more similar to MLS than La Liga. Celtic is no longer competitive in Europe because it doesn’t play enough competitive games. The SPL is now Celtic and a bunch of losers who won’t ever have comparable financial resources. Similarly, Real Madrid and Barcelona will start to decline not due to lack of talent, but due to lack of sharpness since they aren’t playing suitable competition week in and week out. They both beat every other team 4-0 or some such lopsided score, and that’s on the road! How is that suitable competition? It’s two teams and a bunch of losers who are going bankrupt because of the lack of revenue sharing.

        Now, those flaws in those dying leagues have about as much to do with pro/rel as the on-field competition; nothing.

      • Agreed, Leo.

        But let me be clear, I didn’t intent to indicate that Golden age (by which I really meant Golden Generation) necessitates success, especially not at the level of Spain. Lots of teams had their Golden Generations – Portugal and The Netherlands come to mind – and didn’t succeed at the level of Spain. By Golden Generation I am specifically referencing individual talent and ultimately team depth. Doesn’t mean we’re gonna win the WC or anything but we’ll have the deepest group of individual talent that we have seen at any point in time. So deep that making a sub – for tactical reasons or injury – puts the fear in the opposition that who just came on is as good as or even better than who just left.

      • I see your point.

        To be a little more clear, I still think that the key to our “Golden Generation” is development at the U-17 to U-20 level. My opinion: the transition from youth soccer to professional needs to be improved, and I think that it needs to happen here in the United States. I think that American youth, be they Latino, born in Germany or otherwise, should be hungry to play here and want to come here to play. Obviously, we’re a long way from that. But the progress that’s been made in MLS since I saw the Miami Fusion play at Lockhart Stadium all those years ago is stunning, if you look at it objectively.

        I hope that a continuation of this momentum and the changes being made in the youth development system will lead to massive popularity in the sport here. For our “Golden Generation” to come about, children (and the parents raising them) need to talk about MLS teams with the same sort of passion and reverence that’s been reserved for NFL, NBA and MLB teams. Our children have to want to eat, breathe and sleep this sport. They have to want to live this sport – as professionals.

        When this day comes, so will our Golden Generation.

        Thanks for the interesting, original comment, by the way.

  6. Great result for Tijuana and Americans Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo. Hopefully they’ll get more playing time with the Nats.


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