The first legs of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League both went the way of the home team.
Top-seeded Vancouver Whitecaps traveled to Tigres UANL, and was handed a humbling 2-0 defeat. As they had done in the quarterfinals, the Caps settled into a counter-attacking strategy that allowed their opponent a lot of possession, but there is a fine line between trading off possession for tactical advantage and simply being outplayed. Tigres enjoyed almost 80% of the ball and rained 14 shots on goal with seven on target. Vancouver clung on, keeping the game scoreless until the 66th minute when Kendall Waston diverted a cross into his own net. In the 87th minute, just as it appeared the Caps might get out of Mexico with a relatively benign result, Eduardo Vargas found a second for Tigres.
A two-goal deficit is not insurmountable. Vancouver isn't out of the series, and one might argue Tigres missed so many chances to score that they perhaps ought to be concerned they allowed the Caps to slip out of the first leg with hope of turning the semifinal around that should never have been permitted to survive the match in Mexico.
Post-match, VWFC head coach Carl Robinson praised his team's effort and organization, promised his side was not going to give up hope, but also noted that Tigres brought a quality to its work on the field that he and his team had little choice but to admire. "There is a gap, you know - and anyone who says there is not a gap doesn't understand football," he told reporters in his post-game comments.
FC Dallas 2-1 Pachuca Highlights | @FCDallas @Tuzos #SCCL #SoyAficionado pic.twitter.com/AKLK0e1tvA— CONCACAF (@CONCACAF) March 16, 2017