Former UNAM manager Jose Trejo was the first Liga MX coaching casualty in the 2014 Apertura, and now the University team is under the leadership of former coach Guillermo "Memo" Vazquez, while Tijuana are looking to build off last week's win and nab their first away victory of the tournament.
Pumas and Xolos will meet for just the ninth time on Sunday, when UNAM plays host at Estadio Olímpico Universitario for week six in Liga MX. The match is scheduled for 12:00pm kick off local time (10:00am pacific) and will be televised in the United States on Univision and Univision Deportes.
Tijuana has claimed just one victory at Estadio Universitario in its four trips there - a 2-1 win on January 20 2013. In the most recent meeting in February (during Pumas' more flattering moments), they handed Tijuana an easy 3-0 defeat on home soil with goals by Dario Veron, David Cabrera, and Daniel Ludueña.
With Jose Trejo out and Guillermo "Memo" Vazquez in, better days and new horizons are ahead for the struggling Mexico City team who currently sit in 16th place, so Xolos are facing a revived club under a manager with a proven track record for success. He's only second to Hugo Sanchez as most successful Pumas coach, having tallied 118 points in 78 games when he previously managed the club from 1984 - 1990.
Xolos will be without their head coach for this one -- Cesar Farias was suspended for one game after a hands-on altercation with Sergio Bueno in week five saw both managers sent off and disciplinary action taken place. Tijuana assistant coaches Marcos Mathias and Lino Alonso will deliver direction of the team in Mexico City.
While the messenger will be different on Sunday, Farias will still be eager to see his team nab three points, as Xolos have yet to win a road game this tournament and are looking to squash their reputation of having a faulty away record which has lasted over a year. They're coming off a confident 2-1 performance against Chiapas at Estadio Caliente with both goals by Dario Benedetto, who had seemed to struggle slightly with his finishing in weeks prior but put on a good performance thanks to the service he received from a cohesive midfield.
Pumas, on the other hand, have had very little to claim in terms of quality cohesion, and the game against Tijuana on Sunday will be a good test to see just what Pumas' new boss can do in under a week's time . They've lost their last three league matches, the most recent defeat coming away at Leon 2-1. Luduena, Veron, and Cabrera have much more to offer than the performance of this team as of late would suggest, so it will be interesting to see if Memo can revive elements of this squad which have gone sour.
It will be interesting to see how both midfields battle one another and what Pumas does to cover Benedetto and his service. Pumas hasn't been organized all tournament and if they haven't yet adapted to the new ways of Vazquez in the last few days, Benedetto, Pellerano, Arango, and Corona could cause problems. Likewise, the aforementioned three for Pumas will likely be the most difficult to contain, especially Ludueña who's fast and technical with a decent finishing ability.
Both teams are looking to do more than simply pick up three points as the Apertura rolls on. A win for Pumas under Vazquez's second term will give players and fans confidence after a rough start compared to where this team was at in the Clausura. A win for Tijuana will dismiss claims, for now, of an inherent inability to win on the road and buy Farias a little more time to convince his audience he's the right man for the job.