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FT: Toronto FC 1-3 Tigres — Reds fall in inaugural Campeones Cup

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Which league will get this particular feather in its cap?

Tigres UANL v Toronto FC - CONCACAF Champions League 2018 Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Well, the first ever Campeones Cup goes to Tigres. It looked like it would be a close one in the first half, but ultimately (once both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore went off), Tigres’ quality took over.

Auro's return was certainly promising for the Reds, who are next in action on the weekend against the New York Red Bulls.

Are you upset that the Reds couldn't come out on top in this one? Do you wish they'd fielded a weaker lineup?


87’ Toronto FC 1-3 Tigres — Lucas Janson slots in a penalty for a consolation goal. He's looked decent in his stint, but a lacklustre performance from the Reds in general after Giovinco left the match.

66’ Toronto FC 0-3 Tigres — Yeah TFC don’t seem particularly interested anymore. That’ll go down as an own goal for Zavaleta.

64’ Toronto FC 0-2 Tigres — Duenas adds another for the visitors, a pretty strike from far out. I think the will might be gone for the Reds.

48’ — Yikes. Eduardo Vargas takes a pair of dangerous long-distance shots, the second of which rattled the left goalpost.

HT — The Reds go into the half down a goal. How do you think they’ll respond in the second? Do you expect a resurgence, or do you not really care?

40’ — Soccer is a stupid sport. Sebastian Giovinco looks like he’s picked up an injury, and he’s coming off for Lucas Janson.

36’ Toronto FC 0-1 Tigres — Jesus Duenas scores the first ever Campeones Cup goal, and nobody gets any prediction league points. He takes a good ball over the top on a fantastic run, and just outruns Michael Bradley before slotting it near post. A very well-executed goal by Tigres.

31’ — Ahhhh. Jay Chapman came oh so close to opening the scoring with a thumping header from the top of the six-yard box, but it rattled the crossbar. Great delivery from Seba.

27’ — Eriq Zavaleta comes through with a perfect read on Tigres’ low ball into the box. Looked dangerous for a sec before Zavs cleared it.

19’ — Alex Bono has a touch of trouble finding a free kick from the side of the box (similar to the one Chivas scored), but it seems to have hit the post before going out the side. Bono may have been able to get a hand to it, though.

14’ — Nick Hagglund heads one goalward off a corner, but it’s cleared off the line. Not a strong enough header from Hagglund.

6’ — Jozy Altidore is taking this seriously, at least. He got very animated at (I think) Pizarro, who kicked the ball at him. He’s been playing with a good amount of passion so far.

1’ — Kickoff in the inaugural Campeones Cup! The Reds head north to start.


Lineups:

Greg Vanney is going with a strong lineup tonight. Victor Vazquez is missing from the starting eleven, but the Reds are going for it in the Campeones Cup. Also, Auro is on the bench! Tigres have a strong side as well tonight, with Gignac and Vargas starting. They have unfinished business against Toronto.

Toronto FC:

Tigres UANL:

MLSsoccer.com

A few familiar long-distance foes are back in Toronto tonight, as Andre-Pierre Gignac, Eduardo Vargas, and Enner Valencia come to town to fight for the Campeones Cup. Their Tigres UANL side will be taking on Toronto FC at BMO Field for the first time since March 7, when the Reds triumphed 2-1 thanks to Jonathan Osorio’s jaw-dropping backheel winner.

We all remember how the second leg went down as well, when Tigres’ late surge wasn’t enough to stop TFC from claiming the tie on away goals. Fans in Toronto (and across MLS) will remember that moment as the first time it really seemed possible that an MLS club could make waves in the Concacaf Champions League.

Now, the two sides meet again, this time in a competition more explicitly designed to pit MLS against Mexico. Reigning champions both (although TFC may not quite feel like champions at the moment), these clubs have been appointed to represent their leagues in the first Campeones Cup.

Fan reception to this trophy has been a little lukewarm. It’s a midweek match, in the middle of TFC’s desperate, threadbare final playoff push. Still, it would be a real notch in the Reds’ belt to be the first ever winners of this trophy. Judging by Greg Vanney’s squad selection, he’s definitely not dismissing the competition outright (and neither are Tigres, it seems).

We all remember what Tigres can do. They move the ball beautifully, and they have some incredible talent up front with the likes of Valencia and Gignac (who ripped apart TFC’s defence on several occasions when he was able to stay onside). Toronto’s defence has been very suspect of late, and it would certainly not be surprising to see the lethal Tigres attack put a few past them. Chris Mavinga was one of the only reasons TFC were able to hang on in Monterrey, and he won’t be playing tonight.

The Reds are in with a shout if their big guns do play, though. Sebastian Giovinco drew a lot of praise from Mexico for his incredible performance (especially that awe-inspiring free kick in the second leg against Tigres). Jozy Altidore scored a big goal in the first leg back in Toronto.

The weather won’t be on TFC’s side this time like it was back in March. But still; do you think a cup competition is what the Reds need to finish off the MLS season with style?

Team news: injuries & suspensions

Toronto FC: Drew Moor and Chris Mavinga are missing from the squad list. It looks like Auro and Victor Vazquez may be back, although it’s impossible to tell whether that actually means they’re healthy enough to play.

Tigres UANL: There are only a few notable players who didn’t make the trip for the visitors (although I’m not entirely sure who the regular starters are in midfield and defence). Looks like Rafael Carioca and Javier Aquino, both of whom started the second leg back in March, stayed back in Mexico.

Pre-game reading

Toronto FC, Tigres announce strong rosters for Campeones Cup

Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against Tigres

Campeones Cup gives Greg Vanney yet another tough balancing act

A Trophy is a Trophy is a Trophy: In defence of the Campeones Cup

How to watch

Match date/time: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 8:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: TSN 1 (Canada), TVA Sports (Quebec), Univision Deportes (USA), ESPN 2 (USA)
Live stream: TSN GO, Univision NOW