The Vancouver Whitecaps parked the bus to good effect for more than an hour, but Tigres UANL punctured their resistance in the final stages of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal Leg 1 matchup at Monterrey's Estadio Universitario on Tuesday night.
An own goal by Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston and a late strike by Chilean international Eduardo Vargas carved out a 2-0 aggregate lead for the Liga MX heavyweights, leaving Vancouver with a steep hill to climb in Leg 2 at BC Place on April 5.
Content to defend all night, the 'Caps sat deep and conceded nearly 80 percent of possession to their hosts, who struggled to carve out clear-cut looks in the first half, but pushed back a tiring Vancouver side as the second stanza played out. Brek Shea and Nicolas Mezquida carved out decent chances against the run of play, but were unable to finish, leaving their team's CCL hopes hanging by a thread.
- 66' – TIG – Kendall Waston (OG)
- 87' – TIG – Eduardo Vargas
- SAINT DAVID: Did you know that the aforementioned holy man is the patron saint of Wales, homeland of 'Caps coach Carl Robinson? Perhaps that's one of the reasons Robbo routinely places so much responsibility in the hands of his goalkeeper, David Ousted. The Dane was solid in Monterrey, making six saves and marshalling his back line well. But now the VWFC attack will have to save the day in Leg 2.
- TOO MANY WEAPONS: Tigres are a loaded squad even by Liga MX standards, as evinced by the fact that studs like Juninho and Ismael Sosa were left out of the starting XI on this occasion. The Whitecaps defense handled star French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and winger Jurgen Damm well, but with the likes of Vargas always lurking, the visitors simply made one or two mistakes too many and got punished.
- SET TO PIECES: Vancouver's plans to absorb pressure and seek timely chances to get forward on the break nearly worked. But they missed out on one easy way underdogs can help themselves: set pieces. The 'Caps won several fouls in the attacking third, but created no danger with some haphazard restarts that showed little cleverness or forethought.
Worse thing about the Caps tonight has been the set piece delivery— Russell Berrisford (@squadplayer) March 15, 2017
- VAN: Saturday, March 18 – vs. Toronto FC (4 pm ET | CTV in Canada, MLS LIVE in US)