Tigres vs Toronto – Tuesday, March 13, 7PM PT/10PM ET – Estadio Universitario, San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico
The clash of the Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres UANL and the MLS Cup winner Toronto FC is heading to its second act on Wednesday night in Mexico. Toronto hold a small advantage with their 2-1 victory at home at BMO Field on Wednesday night.
Conceding an away goal, scored by the Chilean Eduardo Vargas, could, however, prove costly. Toronto FC have never before played at the cauldron that is the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolás de los Garza just at the outskirts of Monterrey.
Only two MLS teams — Seattle in 2013 and Montreal in 2015 — have ever eliminated a Liga MX opponent in the knockout stage of the continental competition, which highlights the difficulty Toronto face on Tuesday.
Toronto FC, in fact, have never won a match in Mexico. The Reds drew 0-0 against Cruz Azul in the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League and then lost 4-0 to Pumas UNAM 2011-12 Champions League group stage.
Tigres in the meantime played Canadian opposition for the first time last season eliminating the Whitecaps 4-1 on aggregate in the semifinals – they would later lose the final to Pachuca. Competing in their third consecutive CONCACAF Champions League season, Los Felinos are, however, determined to finally win their first international title.
They are, however, not alone in that quest. Toronto have an empty spot for the CONCACAF Champions League cup in the trophy cabinet. Hence, with everything still to play for in the second leg this will be another clash of giants with neither side holding back to get the edge that will see them go through to the next stage of the tournament.
With this in mind, this will be a wide-open affair with plenty of goals. But given that Tigres have bottled plenty of big games in the past it would not be a surprise if Toronto shatters Tigres’ dreams of winning their first international trophy at the first knockout stage.
Tigres vs Toronto – Player to look out for:
Sebastian Giovinco #10 – Toronto FC
When it comes to Toronto FC’s most important player, it is difficult to look beyond Italian Sebastian Giovinco. The 31-year-old attacking midfielder has dominated the league by scoring 65 goals and 37 assists in 105 MLS games (regular season and playoffs) for Toronto FC. Some would even argue that Giovinco might be the best player to ever play in this league. It is certainly true that the Atomic Ant, as he is called in Toronto due to his small stature, has brought Toronto to a new level and Toronto’s dominance over MLS would not be imaginable without the help of the creative midfielder.
André-Pierre Gignac #10 – Tigres UANL
André-Pierre Gignac is a big game player and usually does not awaken till the later stages of the Liga MX season or the CONCACAF Champions League. But in this Clausura things have been a bit different. The French national team striker is second in Liga MX Clausura scoring with eight goals and has scored five goals in the last four Liga MX matches.
Tigres vs Toronto – Match Stats
- Tigres UANL eliminated Toronto’s Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC on the way to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
- Tigres UANL finished runners-up last season.
- Toronto and Tigres UANL are the current league champions of their respective leagues.
- Toronto’s 2-1 home victory was the first ever tie between the two clubs.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Tigres vs Toronto – 2-2
Tigres vs Toronto – Possible Lineups
Guzmán – Torres, Juninho, Ayala, Acosta – Zelarayan, Carioca, Aquino – Valencia, Gignac, Sosa
Coach: Ricardo Ferretti
Bono – Morrow, Moor, Zavaleta, van der Wiel – Aketxe, Bradley, Delgado – Auro – Giovinco, Altidore
Coach: Greg Vanney
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: [email protected]