GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Club Tijuana are intent on going on the offensive from the first whistle at Estadio Azul in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg, according to US international Joe Corona.
The 23-year-old Xolos midfielder stressed how important just one away goal would be following Tijuana’s 1-0 home win in the first leg last Tuesday, given that Liga MX leader Cruz Azul would then need to net three of their own to advance.
There will be no parking the bus against La Máquina on Wednesday in Mexico City (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2, Univision Deportes).
“I know for a fact that our team is mentally prepared to go out there and get the job done,” Corona told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday. “We are all pumped about the game and getting a quick goal so they need three.”
Tijuana may not have won on the road against a fellow Liga MX side since January 2013 – a run stretching back 21 matches – but Corona believes the chance to reach the final of the CCL and potentially qualify for the Club World Cup will be enough to carry the team over the line.
“Xolos have done very well in international competition because it is one of the institutions that take international tournaments very seriously,” he said. “With the CONCACAF Champions or the Libertadores, we don’t know when we’ll be back … It’s also a way for the club to get prestige and gain a lot of respect.”
Corona added that it has been a privilege to be at his hometown club, which he said “just like me, dreams of always being the best.”
The US international said he has felt comfortable under Xolos coach César Farías since he took charge in the offseason and is happy with the free role the Venezuelan has played him in.
“One of the things he always asks is to have a lot of personality on the ball, to always create opportunities and shoot at goal,” Corona said. “He wants me to be that attacking midfielder who creates. He gives me a lot of responsibility, and I like that.”
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.