Vancouver Whitecaps dominated by Tigres in CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg

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The Whitecaps should feel fortunate to be down only 2-0 after one leg. (Reuters)
The Whitecaps should feel fortunate to be down only 2-0 after one leg. (Reuters)

If the Vancouver Whitecaps had gotten anything more than a 2-0 loss out of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg at Tigres in Monterrey on Tuesday, it would have been cosmically unfair to the home team.

Because Tigres completely dominated the Canadians, who advanced to this stage by slaying fellow Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls in the quarterfinals.

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It ultimately took a Kendall Waston own goal and a late tally by Edu Vargas to do the run-of-play justice, but Carl Robinson’s Caps very nearly snuck back home with a workable result.

Again, that would have been unjust.

Because Tuca Ferretti’s Tigres had nearly four-fifths of possession and gave away just two chances all game while outshooting the Caps 14-4 and 7-0 with attempts on target. Painfully, under pressure from Tigres, Vancouver completed just 57 percent of passes and 171 balls in all – to Tigres’s 656.

In that sense, it was a hopelessly one-sided game, and if it weren’t for Vancouver’s Danish netminder David Ousted, things could have gotten out of hand. But he saved well on Andre-Pierre Gignac’s shot early on, and then denied Vargas a little later. A Gignac poke on a cross was deflected wide by Caps defender Tim Parker.

Before the hour, Luis Quinones had the best chance for Tigres, but after a corner was headed on and headed back by Gignac, he somehow nodded the lazy ball over the open goal.


Brek Shea had a rare look for the Whitecaps. He tried to round Nahuel Guzman and then, with the goalkeeper close but making actual contact, the Texan attempted a graceful swan dive. The ref didn’t fall for it and booked him.


Eventually, Vancouver’s luck ran out. In the 66th minute, Gignac’s cross was knocked past Ousted and into the net by a sliding Waston, who had botched the clearance earlier.


Substitute Nicolas Mezquida had a fine opportunity for Vancouver, but he would neglect it by rolling it well wide.


Ousted continued to do his best to keep the Caps in the tie. But before it was all over, a second goal seemed to badly damage the chances of Vancouver becoming just the third MLS team to reach the final of the tournament in this format.

In the 87th minute, Jurgen Damm’s shot was blocked. But Vargas was alert to the opportunity and smacked the rebound home.


Which is all a long way of saying that the Whitecaps will have to beat a wily Mexican opponent by three goals at home on April 5. Provided it doesn’t concede any goals.

A useful result was within reach several times in the first leg, but it would have been wholly undeserved anyway.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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