He’s not the loudest guy on the team, for what can be seen on the field. He doesn’t end up on the stats sheet for most games but makes enough plays to help his team. Jose Rivero was more than modest Wednesday night at Estadio Caliente.
The Uruguayan midfielder jumped, screamed and pumped his right fist repeatedly in celebration. It was a moment to celebrate. He had scored his first goal in Mexican soccer. It came in the 53rd minute. And it came at an adequate time for the Tijuana Xolos midfielder.
Rivero’s goal helped the Xolos to a 1-1 tie against visiting Rayados de Monterrey in the first leg of the Liga MX quarterfinals.
Rivero, also known as “Nacho,” bent a free kick from about 20 yards out past Monterrey goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez.
Rivero’s shot volleyed over the defensive wall, forcing Gonzalez to dive, but the ball was out of reach.
The tie helps Tijuana, the No. 6 seed in the home-and-home series, remain on pace for the second leg in Monterrey on Saturday.
The Rayados had taken a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute when Dorlan Pabon volleyed a ball past Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud on a quick play. Pabon took an Aviles Hurtado ball and flicked it in from about 25 yards out.
Tijuana appeared to be heading to Monterrey with a deficit in the aggregate and in the away goal tiebreaker. Instead of needing two goals to move on in Monterrey, Tijuana needs to win at least 1-0 on the road.
The Xolos scored one away goal this 2018 Clausura season. Estadio BBVA is a hostile place in the Liga MX. Rivero’s goal makes things slightly easier for the Xolos.
Monterrey, the No. 3 seed, held on after a flurry of attempts by Tijuana late in the match. It also escaped a dangerous shot by Luis Mendoza in the first half. Mendoza’s shot appeared to be rolling past the goal line from left to right but a defender blocked it at the final moment.
Orozco writes for the Xolos website.