Vancouver Whitecaps FC players and coaches (pictured) gather for a final word prior to their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, first-leg match at Tigres on March 14, 2017, in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico -- As well as it competed against Tigres in the first leg of their 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, Vancouver Whitecaps FC was reminded of the current Mexican champion’s quality.
Whitecaps FC competed evenly against the host at the Estadio Universitario for a little more than an hour before UANL capitalized on a Kendall Waston own-goal to go ahead 1-0. A late insurance strike by Eduardo Vargas punctuated the 2-0 scoreline.
"The shape of the team, the organization and discipline of my team was exceptional," Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said after the match. "The effort was phenomenal, but we were playing against a top team today that had a lot on the ball.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to take the one or two chances we had. We give away two bad goals and when you give top players, top teams two goals…unfortunately, it becomes very hard."
Vancouver faces an uphill battle in the second leg on April 5 at its BC Place home, where the 2015 Canadian champion is 4W-1D-0L in five SCCL games.
“We're a very good team at home,” remarked Robinson. “We know what they're about, but we do think there are areas where we can try and exploit them.”
Robinson wouldn’t elaborate, but the Major League Soccer side was hopeful of turning things around.
"We have hope," expressed striker Fredy Montero. "We know in our house with the turf, they are going to be unfortunate to play there and we are sure we can score two goals there."
Robinson wasn't about to give up, not by a longshot.
"Miracles do happen," he finished. "In football, strange things do happen. So, we believe.
“The quality came through in the end because they managed to take their two chances...and we didn't take ours. In football it's fine lines and fine lines decide games."