The CONCACAF Champions League semifinals begin on Tuesday with the first leg between Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres and the Vancouver Whitecaps at Estadio Universitario.
The Whitecaps knocked off the New York Red Bulls, 2-1, on aggregate in the quarterfinals to reach their first-ever semifinal in the competition. The club rested several starters in its 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes over the weekend to prepare for Tuesday’s crucial clash in Mexico. The likes of Tim Parker, Matias Laba and Fredy Montero were either on the bench or not made available for the game.
It will be an uphill battle for the Whitecaps, as Tigres boast an attack with the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Eduardo Vargas, Jurgen Damm and Jesus Duenas. However, Tuca Ferreti’s side has struggled at home as of late, winning just one of four games in all competitions in 2017.
The Whitecaps will surely look to frustrate the hosts by sitting deep and waiting to pounce on the counter with its speedy attackers like Kekuta Manneh. It’s up to Tigres to utilize their technique and open up the defense with quick, precise passing and movement.
Neither side has won this competition, but Tigres made it to the final last year before losing out to Club America. With no continental title to their name, the Apertura winners could solidify their status as a big team in Mexico with a victory in the Champions League.