Every ounce of hard work put in by the Vancouver Whitecaps was undone by a masterful strike on Wednesday night.
The Whitecaps fell 2-1 on Wednesday night and 4-1 on aggregate to Tigres in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, with Andre-Pierre Gignac’s beautiful strike in the 63rd minute being the dagger in the continental hopes of the club and Major League Soccer.
The victory propels Tigres into the CCL final, and a date against fellow Liga MX side Pachuca, with the Mexican league now assured of having the CCL champion for the 12th consecutive year.
The Whitecaps gained a sense of belief early on, but not before an early scare. Ismael Sosa broke into the box in the first minute, but before his shot even took off in the direction of the net, it was blocked.
Two minutes later, it was the home side celebrating an unexpected early breakthrough. Cristian Techera linked up with a ball from Christian Bolanos on the left side of the box and played it centrally. Tigers goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman made a mess of an attempted clearance, which led the ball to the foot of Brek Shea, who hit a composed shot into the back of the net.
The Whitecaps almost experienced a similar start to the second half, when Bolanos drove a shot from the right side of the box off the diving arms of Guzman in the Tigres net.
After plenty of hard work, especially from center back Tim Parker, in their own half, the Whitecaps were finally broken by a moment of brilliance off the boot of Gignac. The Whitecaps gave the Frenchman just enough time and space to send a pinpointed finish into the right corner of the net from just outside the box.
Carl Robinson’s men didn’t back down from the challenge down goals on aggregate, as David Ousted came up with a few highlight reel denials. However, the Whitecaps could not turn the momentum from the saves into a consistent threat moving forward.
Tigres finished off the Canadian club in the 84th minute, when Damian Alvarez cleaned up from close range to beat Ousted.
The loss marked yet another failure for an MLS side to down Mexican opposition in the up competition. FC Dallas lost a heartbreaker to Club Pachuca on Tuesday night down in Mexico.
Man of the Match
One moment of brilliance from Gignac undid some splendid work from Parker, Ousted and others in the Vancouver back line. Gignac was part of an attack that pounded seven shots on goal in the second half.
Moment of the Match
Gignac’s strike in the 63rd minute killed any hopes of a Whitecaps resurgence. The Frenchman was handed a good amount of space, and like someone of his quality usually does, he took advantage of it and punished his opponent.
Match to Forget
After contributing a goal and an assist against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, Fredy Montero came up empty in his forward role. The Colombian barely looked dangerous over 90 minutes.