Ecuadorian Fidel Martinez received a call from his country's national team for duty in FIFA World Cup Qualification for Brazil 2014. To celebrate "Tijuana's Neymar" scored the winning goal for his squad Friday night in Apertura 2013 action of La Liga MX. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente defeated Queretaro FC 1-0 at the Caliente stadium in week 13 action.
"It was a complicated game, with a lot of contact," Martinez said after the game. "The team never backed down, which is important. We worked the ball, I had the opportunity to score and thank God it went in."
Complicated is the best word to describe the game. From the beginning the Gallos Blancos pressured the Aztec dogs forcing them to play long ball. The action took place in the midfield with neither team getting any real opportunities in front of the net.
Midfielder Fernando Arce was busy trying to recover and distribute the ball to the forwards. He stated that the team was under pressure from the fans to perform.
"We didn't get desperate," Arce said. "The fans pressured us. So we were able to play a smart game. We were able to keep them [Queretaro] from taking the initiative and reaching the goal. We managed the time and fortunately the goal came."
Coach Jorge Almiron, who has had a difficult time leading the team, was not well received when the team was announced. Almiron had previously said that the team needed the fans and that the game was going to be played like a final. The fans responded going to the game, and the team went out to take the three points.
The deadlock was broken when Chula Vista native Paul Arriola entered the pitch. The 18 year-old instantly made an impact on the wing. He raced down beating out his markers to center the ball on several occasions. Almiron also brought in U.S. international Herculez Gomez. With Herculez and Arriola on the pitch, the game changed in Xolos' favor.
In the 75th minute Arriola took a ball down the wing into shooting range. He centered to Arce who fired on first touch. The ball rebounded off a defender to the opposite side of the area where Martinez was unmarked. With a wide open net in his view the Ecuadorian national team member simply pushed the ball in for the 1-0.
Queretaro could not recover the energy they had in the first half. Xolos took control of the game and maintained possession of the ball. The Gallos Blancos players became frustrated and the referee had to book several players to keep control of the discipline. After 90 minutes the rojinegros took the game and are within three points of a playoff spot. Xolos had not won a league game since Sept. 7, 2013, a 3-0 victory over Veracruz FC.
Xoloitzcuintles have four games left in the season. Two are away games against Toluca and Leon, the others are home games against Tigres UANL and Atlante FC.