After coming out of Toronto with a hard fought 2-1 win, Toronto FC will have to hold off Tigres in Mexico tonight. The first game was filled with opportunities for both sides, but it took until the second half for Tigres to open the scoring. TFC battled like we all know they can with two huge goals — and how good is that Jozy Altidore? He might just go down as one of the most clutch players in Toronto sports history.
Even though TFC got the win they gave up the away goal, and giving up the away goal might come back to bite them in the butt. They’ll have to get right down to business as we’re most likely to see high pressure from the Tigres starters, so the TFC defenders have to be a little smarter.
Whether or not the Reds can hold off Tigres will be a question that will be asked up until the end of the game. Both teams play a similar style. It’s going to be up to Greg Vanney and the coaches to game plan and put TFC on the track to success and moving onto the semifinals.
So, here are three things you should be looking for in tonight's match up
Both teams are going to have to be very aggressive and put pressure on the defence, but more so for TFC. Going up against a team like Tigres who are a strong side in all areas it’s going to be imperative that TFC make them make mistakes. Mistakes are made when you don’t have much time on the ball and Sebastian Giovinco and Altidore are going to have to be ready to pounce on those errors.
On the opposite end of the field the TFC defence will have to be ready for the pressure the Tigres front line will bring to them. Through the most part of the first half they didn’t handle that pressure, but as the game wore on they started to get more and more into the game. The speed of Chris Mavinga, as well as the smarts of both Nick Hagglund and Drew Moor will prove to be too much for the Tigres offence as they shut them down in front of their own crowd.
Defence wins championships and if TFC want to make it far in this competition they are going to have to have a real standout defensive effort tonight. Holding off the pressure from Tigres will be the reason they make it on to the semifinals.
2. Midfield battle
TFC have arguably the best midfield in MLS, but can it translate to the CONCACAF Champions League that is the real question. Their midfield struggled through the first 20 minutes of the game last week, but got more involved as it wore on. It could be a new look midfield in the second leg as Toronto try and preserve this lead and get the win. Jonathan Osorio and Marky Delgado were standouts in the last game and their defensive game was on point. The Reds will need another effort like that from them in the second leg if they are in the starting lineup.
Victor Vazquez didn’t get the start in the first leg and may not be in the starting lineup in the second leg. Hopefully he can be involved though, because his ability to keep possession, to make passes in tight spaces and get out of tricky spots makes him someone who needs to be in the lineup for a match like this.
Ager Aketxe is another name that could be in the starting XI as he can match Vazquez pass for pass and that can help TFC get to where they need to be at the end of the game.
Michael Bradley is the rock of the midfield and the defensive juggernaut. His ability to help the defence and get back in sticky situations makes him the greatest asset TFC have in their lineup. The captain should be a guy you want to line up with game in and game out and go to war with and for TFC that man is Michael Bradley.
3. Take the fans out of it
We all know the impact TFC fans have on their homes games and Tigres fans are no different, if not worse. Tigres now sit fourth in the Liga MX standings and haven’t lost at home during the season thus far.
If Toronto wants a chance of getting out of Mexico with the aggregate win then they’re going to have to silence the home crowd. Try and get a goal early as that might knock the wind out of the sails of the Mexican side and their fans.
TFC needs to be able to do this in order for them to have success so they have to be aggressive and try and take the game to the Mexican side. El Volcán must not become the Volcano, because if it does then TFC are in for some big trouble and a world of hurt.