Houston Dynamo face daunting task in CCL quarters away to Tigres UANL

Matías Vera – Houston Dynamo – Tigres – Champions league

HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo have quite the task ahead in the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal vs. Tigres UANL next Tuesday.

Losing the first leg, 2-0, is trouble enough. The situation looks more grave when adding in travel to Estadio Universitario and injuries to key players such as Juan David Cabezas, Tomas Martinez, and Aljaz Struna – all right up the team’s spine.

Despite the situation, Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera struck a balanced tone.

"That's soccer,” Cabrera said. “We cannot count on those who are injured. We cannot excuse ourselves from losing because of those who are not enabled. No, in soccer one has to face things as they come. This team that [played] today was an excellent team. It was the best team we could have.”

True to character, Cabrera said Houston has to focus on the task at hand, which is Saturday’s home opener vs. the Montreal Impact. If all goes to plan, the club would regain some confidence with a win.

Learning from the loss against Tigres and taking one task at a time is a sentiment shared by Dynamo players.

 “I thought we didn’t play bad, but they are a very good team and they hurt us,” said Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis. “So I think we can take that into the next game with us, tweak a few things, focus on Montreal. We will watch some video of what happened tonight, assess it and then see where we can go from there.”

Not all is lost for the Dynamo, though the away goals rule of the two-legged affair complicates matters.

Conceding twice at BBVA Compass Stadium means Houston must score at least as many at El Volcan. A Tigres goal would make the job even more difficult, and there’s always the looming possibility of penalty kicks.  

Honduran midfielder Boniek Garcia said he expected a stronger performance at home, but the show must go on. 

“This is not what we expected," Garcia said. "This is a good Tigres team that played really well. Now we have to do our part here in Monterrey and do what we can to turn this series around. Now we have to turn the page and think about our next game and then focus again on Tigres.”

As for Tigres, there’s little rest ahead with a Saturday night match against Liga MX rivals Monterrey. The latter is also in the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals, facing Atlanta United FC on Wednesday evening.