Category: Sports

Hairless Underdogs From Underdog City

January 2nd, 2013 Permalink

  Tijuana’s Xoloitzcuintles capped their impossible rise in Mexican soccer by winning the Liga MX championship—just two short short years after being propelled into its major leagues—with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Toluca, a storied club with more titles than the newcomer Xolos have years. Up 2-1 over Toluca going into the match, the Xolos […]

"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" "Tijuana"
 

Tijuana’s Xoloitzcuintles capped their impossible rise in Mexican soccer by winning the Liga MX championship—just two short short years after being propelled into its major leagues—with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Toluca, a storied club with more titles than the newcomer Xolos have years.

Up 2-1 over Toluca going into the match, the Xolos simply had to hold their lead and the championship would be theirs. The city of Tijuana held its breath. The Xolos unlikely success, during one of city’s most difficult periods, captured the imagination of Tijuana, and their respective arcs seemed to mirror one another. As Julio César Martínez Silva told the San Diego Union-Tribune’ Tijuana reporter Sandra Dibble, ‘The entire country used to say Tijuana is crime and drugs. It’s great that a ball can transform it into a place of togetherness.’

During the match, Tijuana was eerily silent. After a scoreless first half there was a palpable sense that victory was within reach, but no one wanted to jinx it. In 70th minute of the second half, Raul Arce sent a bending-blast-of-a-free-kick [3:15] over Toluca’s defense that ricocheted off the goal post. Arce’s teammate, Richard Ruiz, was in perfect position and tapped the ball beneath Toluca’s diving goal keeper.

Tijuana erupted. The noisy goal celebrations hadn’t even died down, when just a minute later, the yellow-mohawked Duvier Riascos caught a break away, and with beautiful footwork, danced right around Toluca’s goal keeper for another one. Riascos, always the showman, went right over to corner of stadium, just feet from Toluca’s fans, to rub it in.

As the San Diego Union-Tribune sports reporter Mark Zeigler described it, ‘The Tijuana forward tore off his jersey and ran toward the sideline, his arms extended, his face contorted in elation. Toluca fans, suddenly cognizant that their team wasn’t winning the Mexican soccer title for a record 11th time, angrily showered him with beer. Riascos turned his head as he sprinted by and playfully stuck out his tongue, trying to catch the sprinkles of cerveza in the chilly night air. Ah, the sweet taste of triumph.’

But Zeigler left out the next and best part. Too risque to include in a family newspaper, Xolo forward Riascos—like any dog would—got down on all fours, lifted his right leg, and performed a mock urination on the corner flag, marking his territory in Toluca for Tijuana for all of Mexico to see.

Beware of Dog

November 26th, 2012 Permalink

              In a stunning come from behind victory, Tijuana’s Xoloitzcuintles beat León last night, advancing to the finals of Mexican soccer just two years after arriving in its major league. Described as ‘the perfect game‘ by coach Antonio Mohamed, the Xolos offense was relentless. When the final whistle blew […]

"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuana" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" 

"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuana" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" 

"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuana" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" 

"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuana" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" 
"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuana" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" 
"Jason Thomas Fritz" "Tijuana" "Tijuanalandia" "Xolos" "Xoloitzcuintles" 

 
In a stunning come from behind victory, Tijuana’s Xoloitzcuintles beat León last night, advancing to the finals of Mexican soccer just two years after arriving in its major league. Described as ‘the perfect game‘ by coach Antonio Mohamed, the Xolos offense was relentless. When the final whistle blew after five nail-biting minutes of extra penalty play, the city of Tijuana erupted, taking to its streets to celebrate its win.

Raging Bull

January 8th, 2011 Permalink

Tijuana Pamplonada bullfight Jason Thomas FritzTijuana Pamplonada bullfight Jason Thomas Fritz

Hair of the Dog of the Hairless Dog

December 9th, 2010 Permalink

  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 […]

Jason Thomas Fritz Xolos TijuanaJason Thomas Fritz Xolos TijuanaJason Thomas Fritz Xolos TijuanaJason Thomas Fritz Xolos Tijuana
 

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.

Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad

July 13th, 2010 Permalink

  With potholes that can swallow mid-sized sedans whole and a driving culture that sees traffic lights and stop signs as polite suggestions, not hard and fast rules, riding a bike in Tijuana can be a death wish even on the best of days. Despite this, a bike culture is taking root in Tijuana, and […]

Paseo de Todos Tijuana bike bikingPaseo de Todos Tijuana bike bikingPaseo de Todos Tijuana bike biking
 

With potholes that can swallow mid-sized sedans whole and a driving culture that sees traffic lights and stop signs as polite suggestions, not hard and fast rules, riding a bike in Tijuana can be a death wish even on the best of days. Despite this, a bike culture is taking root in Tijuana, and everyday more and more bikes can be seen on the streets of the city.

On a recent Friday, one hundred cyclists gathered at Plaza Santa Ceclia, right beneath Tijuana’s arch, for the first installment of Paseo de Todos Tijuana, a monthly bike ride that takes place at 8pm every first Friday. The two hour spandex-heavy ride wound its was through Tijuana’s El Centro, La Cacho, Zona Rio and Colonia Liberdad neighborhoods, before heading back downtown. Organizers say the ride aims to “produce a cultural change in Tijuana…and demonstrate that it is possible to use bicycles as a form of transportation.”

The sight of a parade of two-wheelers passing elicited waves from people on the street. Residents came out of their homes to catch a glimpse of the mobile commotion, snapping pictures with their cell phones. Cars, temporarily stopped by the procession, seemed more interested than annoyed and honked their horns in support. Even the Tijuana Police Department officers escorting the ride were polite and professional.

Near the end of the evening, the roving spectacle rode past Avenida Revolucion—now showing signs of life—to the cheers and applause of Tijuanenses. It was a hopeful moment. After the darkest chapter in its history, Tijuanenses are reclaiming their city, and proving that another Tijuana is possible.