Fans of Club Tijuana de Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente—better known as the Xolos—celebrated in the streets of Tijuana Sunday after their team beat Veracruz 1-0, capturing the Apertura championship of the Liga de Ascenso, and putting the city of Tijuana one step shy of hosting a team in the big leagues of Mexican soccer, the Primer Division.
Although Tijuana is the sixth largest city in Mexico, it’s stuck in the minor leagues. But with the Xolos’ Sunday championship win, the team and the city they represent, are now just one win away from being catapulted into Mexico’s most prestigious league, and into the realm of the soccer giants like the Chivas and Club America.
The Xolos have two ways to get to the Primer Division. As champions of the Apertura, the first half of Mexico’s divided soccer season, the Xolos will play the winners of this spring’s Clasura, as the second half of the season is known. If the Xolos win, they’re in. The other scenario is if the Xolos take Clasura championship too, a distinct possibility with the way they’ve been playing
As Scott French of ESPN.com’s Soccer Blog notes, “Tijuana…closed the campaign with five successive shutouts and conceded nothing in its four playoff games. The Xolos had 14 shutouts in 21 games, never allowed more than one goal in any game, and went 8-0-3 at [Estado] Caliente, surrendering just two goals.” With either path, the Xolos will go to the Primer Division, and finally bring the major league of Mexican soccer to Tijuana.