Club Tijuana has announced its plans for preseason ahead of the 2014 Apertura, and it involves a series of friendlies which will incorporate its second division affiliate, Dorados de Sinaloa.
The team plans to depart Tijuana on June 18, arriving at Isla Navidad, Colima same day, where they'll train before taking on Atlas in Guadalajara in a friendly on June 21. The team will likely face former Xolos players Edgar Castillo and Juan Carlos "Che Che" Hernandez, who both left Tijuana for Atlas after the 2014 Clausura.
Xolos will return to Tijuana on June 29 where they'll participate in the Tijuana Cup, a four-team tournament which will take place on July 3 and 5 at Estadio Caliente and includes Dorados de Sinaloa, Estudiantes Tecos de Guadalajara (Ascenso MX), and Deportivo Defensa y Justicia, a newly promoted team within Argentina's Premier League.
Xolos will play the Argentine side and Dorados will face Tecos, with the winner of both facing off on July 5.
Both Xolos and Dorados will play in the Annual San Diego Clasico on July 12, with Dorados playing Club America before Tijuana take on Cruz Azul at Petco Park in San Diego. Xolos defeated America in last year's Clasico 5-2, with California native and US U-20 player Paul Arriola scoring his first professional goal in his debut for Xolos.
Head Coach César Farías is fielding a squad much more to his design, incorporating Juan Arango from Venezuela, a central player with an incredible left foot who played under Farías at the club level and for the National Team. Xolos will also welcome back striker Alfredo 'Chango' Moreno - a central striker fitting into Farías' system of playing an attack-minded game down the middle. (There's a reason both of his central midfielders led the team in goals scored last tournament).
Xolos also picked up Dayro Moreno from Colombia, and Israel Jimenez on loan from Tigres, who was part of Mexico's Gold medal-winning Olympic squad in 2012.
With the addition of Arango and Dayro Moreno, Xolos will have to release one of players currently occupying a foreign spot on the roster. That means Cristian Pellerano (Argentina), brother Hernán Pellerano, Dario Benedetto (Argentina), and Jaimen Ayovi (Ecuador) are all at risk of being sent elsewhere, though Cristian Pellerano and Benedetto are the least likely to leave. Pellerano led the team in goals scored with seven and Benedetto in close second with six, after having a breakout debut performance in the 2013 Clausura under Jorge Almirón. Hernán Pellerano provides a much needed spot in central defense, while Ayovi's wide attack is least favorable when it comes to Farías' system.
Farías is also known to let younger players within Xolos' U20 squads play up for experience. 17 year old Fernando Arce Jr. will travel to Isla Navidad with the first team, along with his cousin Edgar Villegas, who had a promising performance with the U20's during the regular season and in the Liguilla, scoring 11 goals over two tournaments.
Xolos finished the 2014 Clausura in seventh place falling to Toluca in the Liguilla quarterfinals. Perhaps the biggest off-season surprise came when the club announced they were parting ways with veteran midfielder Fernando Arce, sending him to Chivas. They also saw off both strikers in Herculez Gomez who went to Tigres, and Fidel Martinez who joins Castillo and Arce in Guadalajara, but with newly promoted Leones Negros.
Tijuana will open up the 2014 Apertura in Liga MX at home on July 18 against Puebla, who just signed Mexico National Team legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco.