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Border & Immigration

Xolos Of Tijuana Compete For First Title

Xolos fans celebrating after a goal in the Apatura finals.
Brooke Binkowski
Xolos fans celebrating after a goal in the Apatura finals.

UPDATE: Nov. 29, 2012

The Xolos are one step closer to their first title in Liga MX, Mexico’s premiere league. The dogs won Thursday’s opening match against Toluca FC, 2-1. The match was dominated by an aggressive Xolos offensive and the frenzied Tijuana home crowd: Via U-T San Diego:

The message was clear: The 10-time Mexican champions had had enough of pulsating Estadio Caliente, of the spongy artificial turf and its funky bounces, of the crazed “La Masakr3” fan club with its X-rated chants, of the beer showers after goals, of this suddenly resurgent border city and its ascendant soccer team.

A 2-1 loss … they’ll take it.

“I’m all right with the result,” said Toluca coach Enrique Meza, whose team lost here 1-0 during the regular season in a game that easily could have been 4-0. “I’m happy with it. It could have been something else. They weren’t able to cause anymore damage.”
Sunday’s match will be home for Toluca at the historic
Estadio Nemesio Díez. Down by a goal, it should prove to be a dynamic game. We'll be watching, as will most of Tijuana.
Fan celebrating Thursday night after Xolo goal
Brooke Binkowski
Fan celebrating Thursday night after Xolo goal

Nov. 28, 2012: Thursday night in Tijuana, that city's soccer team, the Xoloitzcuintles - or Xolos - will be hosting Toluca FC for the first match of the Apatura finals in Mexico’s premiere league, Liga MX.

Throughout its second season in the Liga MX, the Xolos were underdogs with the odds stacked against them. Thursday’s match is no different. The seasoned Toluca FC is competing for its 11th title, which would tie the club for most titles with Chivas de Guadalajara.

The Xolos' unexpectedly successful season has been a huge victory for the club and Tijuana. The club has become a symbol of unity and victory for border city laden with recent violence. Coach Antonio Mohamed acknowledged the team is playing for something larger than its first title. Via, Goal: The New York Times Soccer Blog:

Tijuana Coach Antonio Mohamed draws inspiration from his 9-year-old son, who died in a car accident during a World Cup trip to Germany in 2006. After beating León, 3-0, on Sunday, he said: “We were better from beginning to end than León. We remember those who aren’t with us and share it with the players. It’s a feast for the whole city. We believe in ourselves, and here we are in the final.”