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FT: Tigres 3-2 Toronto FC — Giovinco free kick sends Toronto past Mexican champions

The Reds have tamed the tigers.

(Updated 12:10 p.m.) Stay tuned here for game highlights and live running commentary!

FULLTIME: Tigres 3-2 Toronto FC — They did it! They actually did it. It got close and nervous at the end, but my God. Toronto FC are through to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.

It was a heck of a game. TFC have played some nervous games and come out with some gritty wins in the past, but this may be up there with the best of them. The Reds just marched into the Liga MX champions’ home stadium and knocked them out of the Champions League in front of their own fans.

It wasn’t pretty (except for Seba’s free kick), but it’s over. They did it.

Gush about the game in the comments with us. How will you remember this night? How prepared are you for the semifinals?

And don’t forget to Rate the Reds!

90+3’ — Tigres awarded a penalty as the ball strikes Gregory van der Wiel’s hand in the box. Gignac slots it coolly.

89’ — Gignac comes inches away from scoring again. My fingernails are gone.

84’ — Tigres score again, as Andre-Pierre Gignac knocks in a cross-net pass after Nick Hagglund couldn’t get the ball away. Alex Bono spends a good few seconds hilariously holding onto the ball. Nervy times here.

82’ — Sebastian Giovinco makes another great run into the box, but can’t quite find Jozy Altidore. His footwork has been pretty good in the past half hour or so.

Are you excited yet?

75’ — Greg Vanney uses his final sub of the game to bring Victor Vazquez on for Marky Delgado.


69’ — Eduardo Vargas heads a well-taken corner just past the left post and Tigres have got a goal back. TFC still lead on aggregate, 3-2. Nervy moments now.

64’ — THERE’S THE AWAY GOAL!!!!! The Tigres defenders bundle in a Sebastian Giovinco pass and Toronto FC lead 3-1 on aggregate!!!

TFC are well on their way to the semifinals.

61’ — Mavinga is coming out of the game for Nick Hagglund.

49’ — Chris Mavinga has no regard for human life.

46’ — Here we go!

Halftime: TFC escape from the first half with the score 0-0, and the 2-1 aggregate lead intact. Chris Mavinga has been insane in defence; Eriq Zavaleta and Drew Moor possibly less so.

The Reds look like they’re probably going to need a goal to survive here. Tigres have been buzzing, but not quite getting it together in the box.

29’ — Chris Mavinga is incredible.

24’ — Hold onto your hats. Tigres come ridiculously close to scoring, somehow TFC manage to fall all over themselves in the 6-yard box and keep it out.

15’ — Worrying moment as Justin Morrow looks hurt. Auro comes on to replace him at LWB.

Here we go again. If you weren’t nervous before last week’s game, you almost certainly should be this time around.

Toronto FC are set to take the pitch at the Estadio Universitario (a.k.a. El Volcán) in Monterrey, Mexico — home of Tigres UANL — in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie. Kickoff is slated for 10 p.m. EST (confirmed; I know there was some confusion). Last time we all had to stay up late to watch TFC, it went pretty well, though.

The Reds enter the second half of this 180-minute game with a 2-1 lead, after Jonathan Osorio stole victory from the jaws of a draw last Wednesday at BMO Field. Shall we relive it?

Unfortunately, the Reds now have to finish the job in a place where Tigres have lost just once in the last calendar year — and that in a Copa MX game where they rested a lot of their starters. Only three MLS teams have ever beat Liga MX competition in Mexico in the CCL — the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas in 2011, and this year’s New York Red Bulls.

So, it’s a tall order. Enough said.

One thing that’s worth noting: a fair few TFC players probably have some prior experience with Tigres’ greatest weapons. Gregory van der Wiel, for example, saw plenty of André-Pierre Gignac while he was at Paris Saint-Germain and the Tigres striker was with Marseille. Michael Bradley and the USMNT played against Enner Valencia’s Ecuador at the 2015 Copa America Centenario.

I can also find plenty of instances from Eduardo Vargas’s time with Napoli where he was on the bench against Sebastian Giovinco’s Juventus, but none where the two saw the pitch at the same time.

Anyway, none of that is really too relevant, but I thought it was kind of interesting to look into.

TFC had the luxury of a bye in MLS this past weekend, meaning they can throw everything they have into this game. Tigres didn’t get to rest over the weekend, but Greg Vanney suggested last week that he might’ve liked to continue rolling to allow his side to gel more.

This game will be tough as hell, regardless of anything. Tigres will be motivated after losing last week, and they beat Tijuana Xolos 1-0 over the weekend with a screamer from Gignac. The atmosphere will be one of the most hostile TFC have ever seen. It seems even the entirety of the Mexican press corps is against them, after three MLS teams beat Liga MX opposition.

At least the weather will be nice, though.

Team news: injuries and suspensions

Toronto FC: Victor Vazquez continues to be day-to-day with that nerve issue in his lower back. He made the trip to Mexico, but he’s probably doubtful to start.

Michael Bradley continues to be the only TFC player on a yellow card.

Tigres UANL: Midfielder Rafael Carioca and fullback Luis Rodriguez are expected to miss out with injury. Centre-back Francisco Meza has been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL.

Plenty of Tigres players are sitting on a yellow: Jorge Torres, Hugo Ayala, and Javier Aquino were cautioned against TFC last week, while Carioca, Larry Vasquez, and Israel Jimenez picked up yellow cards in the round of 16 against Herediano.

Pre-game reading

Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against Tigres (Leg 2) (Benedict Rhodes)
WTR Roundtable: Auro or Gregory van der Wiel — or both? (WTR Staff)

How to watch

Match date/time: 10 p.m. EST, Tuesday, March 13
TV: TSN 4 (Canada), Univision Deportes (USA)
Live stream: TSN Go (Canada), go90 (USA)
Radio: None, as far as I can tell.


Toronto FC:

Tigres UANL:

Guzman, Acosta, Juninho, Ayala, Torres Nilo, De Souza, Duenas, Sosa, Aquino, Vargas, Gignac

Don’t forget to stay tuned to this thread for live updates, commentary and highlights! Discuss the game with us as it happens in the comments, too.