Eduardo Vargas scored on a rebound in the second minute of second-half stoppage time, and New York City FC saw their Concacaf Champions League hopes dealt a critical blow with a 1-0 loss to Tigres UANL in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena.
NYCFC missed several good opportunities, particularly during the first half, while forcing goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman into six saves on the evening.
On the other end, Sean Johnson reacted well to push one deflected effort from Andre-Pierre Gignac over the crossbar deep into the second half. But in the final moments, he failed to push another effort from the French striker clear from danger, and Vargas was there to turn in the rebound.
The Cityzens now need to win and score two goals in the return leg at the Estadio Universitario to win the tie outright. A 1-0 NYCFC away win would send the quarterfinal to penalties.
- 90'+2' - TIG - Eduardo Vargas | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: A scoreless draw, while not ideal, wouldn't have the worst result for NYCFC, who easily played well enough at times to suggest they could earn a point and score a goal in Mexico. But perhaps they let their first-half misses weigh on them after the break, because the second 45 minutes was without rhythm for long stages. And in the end, Gignac and Vargas showed up in the crucial moment, as they have many times before.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Tigres weren't completely played off the park, but in terms of the anatomy of a goal, this was sort of the definition of smash-and-grab, with Gignac doing the smashing and Vargas doing the grabbing.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Nahuel Guzman. The rangy Argentine made a couple big interventions before halftime, including a deceptively difficult save of Heber at the near post in the 42nd minute.
- NYC: Saturday, March 14 vs. FC Dallas (12:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
- TIG: Saturday, March 14 vs. Juarez, 2020 Liga MX Clausura (9 pm ET)