2012 Mexican Apertura Final – Toluca vs. Tijuana
The 2012 Apertura Final is upon us, and it sees an old club looking to regain its past glory versus a new, upstart club hoping to establish itself as a legitimate contender with the big boys of Mexican soccer. Sorry though, América and León fans – this was not to be your tournament. This time around the old guard will be represented by Toluca and the young upstart club will be Tijuana. Let’s take a look at the clubs and how they got here.
Deportivo Toluca Fútbol Club
Located 66 km from Mexico City and roughly 1,200 km from the United States, Toluca is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Mexico. Founded in 1917, Los Diablos Rojos (the Red Devils) have been in Liga MX (previously known as the Primera División) since being promoted from the Segunda División in 1953. Toluca has won ten championships (tied with América and one behind Chivas de Guadalajara), their last coming in the Bicentenario 2010 tournament.
- Location: Toluca, Estado de México, Mexico
- Stadium: Estadio Nemesio Díez (nicknamed La Bombonera). Opened in 1954.
- Capacity: 27,000
- How they got here: Defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 5-2 (aggregate) in the quarterfinals, defeated América 3-2 (aggregate) in the semifinals.
- Table position: 1st
- CONCACAF Champions Cup – 1968, 2003
- Primera División de México – 1966-67, 1967–68, 1974–75, Verano 1998, Verano 1999, Verano 2000, Apertura 2002, Apertura 2005, Apertura 2008, Bicentenario 2010
- Copa México – 1955-56, 1988–89
- Campeón de Campeones – 1966-67, 1967–68, 2002–03, 2005–06
Players to Know
- Lucas Silva – 28 years old. Midfielder. 7 goals (tied-9th) and 7 assists (1st overall) in the 2012 Apertura. Holds dual Brazilian-Mexican citizenship, but is not capped.
- Zinha – 36 years old. Midfielder. Captain. 4 goals (tied-23rd) and 4 assists (tied-9th overall) in the 2012 Apertura. 56 caps and 6 goals for Mexico since 2004.
- Juan Carlos Cacho – 30 years old. Striker. 4 goals (tied-23rd) and 4 assists (tied-9th overall) in the 2012 Apertura. 11 caps and 3 goals for Mexico since 2007.
- Luis Tejada – 30 years old. Striker. 6 goals (tied-13th) and 3 assists (tied-17th) in the 2012 Apertura. 69 caps and 34 goals for Panama since 2001.
- Alfredo Talavera – 30 years old. Goalkeeper. 4 clean sheets and 66 saves in the 2012 Apertura. 10 caps with Mexico since 2011.
Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Located roughly 2,800 km from Mexico City and sharing a border with the United States, Tijuana is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Mexico. Founded in 2007, Los Xolos were promoted to Liga MX in 2011. Tijuana has quickly become a presence in the United States, recruiting American youth and looking to set up academies in San Diego and Los Angeles. Tijuana has at least seven players with dual American and Mexican citizenship.
- Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
- Stadium: Estadio Caliente. Opened in 2007.
- Capacity: 21,000
- How they got here: Defeated Monterrey 2-1 (aggregate) in the quarterfinals, defeated León 3-2 (aggregate) in the semifinals.
- Table position: 2nd
Players to Know
- Duvier Riascos - 26 years old. Striker. 9 goals (tied-4th) and 1 assist in the 2012 Apertura. Won Chinese Football Association Footballer of the Year and Chinese Football Association Golden Boot in 2010.
- Fernando Arce – 32 years old. Midfielder. 3 goals and 4 assists (tied-9th overall) in the 2012 Apertura. 42 caps and 7 goals for Mexico since 2003.
- Juan Carlos Núñez – 29 years old. Defender. 0 goals and 3 assists (tied-17th) in the 2012 Apertura. Has not been capped at any level.
- Joe Corona – 22 years old. Forward. 0 goals and 0 assists in the 2012 Apertura. 3 caps and 0 goals for the United States since 2012.
- Cirilo Saucedo – 30 years old. Goalkeeper. 10 clean sheets and 57 saves in the 2012 Apertura. Holds dual citizenship with Mexico and the United States.
The clubs will play a home-and-away aggregate. The first match is Thursday, November 29 at 10:30 PM EST in Tijuana and will be televised in the US on Univision Deportes. The second match is Sunday, December 2 at 5:30 PM EST on Univision.