It was Valentine’s Day and the Vancouver Whitecaps were hoping to spread love to their fans by doing something they have never done before: Beating Tigres UANL.

But the Whitecaps are 0-1-4 in all competitions against Tigres as they fell 3-0 in leg two of their CONCACAF Champions Cup tie. (4-1 on aggregate.) Unfortunately, a date in the round of 16 won’t happen.

First half

The Whitecaps started well. They showed Tigres they were in the fight.

There were big chances. In the third minute, Damir Kreilach had a clear chance in the box after some great pressure from Ryan Gauld to force a turnover. However, Kreilach looked like Charlie Brown trying to kick the other kind of football. He completely flubbed it.

Out of all players, it was Mathias Laborda who had the most chances. He had a nice header in the eighth minute but he missed it. About five minutes before halftime, there was a great transition by the Whitecaps but Laborda whiffed it wide of the left post. To be fair, Laborda isn’t known for scoring goals so we’ll cut him some slack.

I’m not sure what the pitch guy was doing with the water before the match but he probably made it rain. Players on both sides were slipping and sliding like they were stepping on an ice rink.

The Whitecaps defended well in the first half, especially in the box. Tristan Blackmon and Ranko Veselinovic in particular were great at blocking and clearing as they usually are.

The ball movement was good but some of the passes looked too late or too early, particularly from Sebastian Berhalter and Alessandro Schöpf.

The dynamic duo of Brian White and Ryan Gauld showed flashes. However, the two of them and Kreilach weren’t as dangerous as they were in the first leg and looked isolated.

The second half

Tigres came alive in the second half. They rose from their slumber like they rose out of a coffin like The Undertaker.

The Mexican side moved the ball swiftly. They were looking to catch the Whitecaps napping even for a second. They did just that. Luis Quiñones opened the scoring for Tigres as he tapped in the ball after it hit the crossbar. Let’s just say Vancouver’s defence was…all over the place.

The goal swung the momentum in favour of Tigres. They were desperate to finish the Whitecaps off as they looked dangerous on their transitions and played keep away.

The good news was that the Whitecaps were all thinking: “I will fight! One more fight!.” The bad news? They couldn’t capitalize on their chances.

That pretty much sums up the tie. Vancouver had glorious chances after Tigres’s opening goal. For example, less than ten minutes after Quiñones scored, White was in alone on Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán. But White chose to pass to Gauld and Tigres managed to intercept the ball. It is worth mentioning that Kreilach’s pass could’ve come a second or two earlier but White probably should’ve tried his luck with a shot.

Speaking of doing things earlier, Fafà Picault probably should’ve come on earlier than the 70th minute. He made an impact instantly with his speed and two great chances.

Unfortunately, Picault couldn’t be the hero the Whitecaps were holding out for. Ozziel Herrera sealed the deal in the 85th minute and Juan Pablo Vigon put some more icing on the cake for Tigres in stoppage time. The Whitecaps defended well for most of the game but their structure collapsed as the second half went on. Tigres simply rose to the occasion.

As for the Whitecaps, there was lots to like, especially considering they are still in preseason form. However, the killer instinct was missing.

Stat of the match

It was nice to have Andres Cubas pass. That yellow card was reckless but he had a good match. He leads all players with five takeaways.

What was said

“The main takeaway for this game, is we need to keep our structure and of course, we need to score our chances,” said Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini after the match. ” If we keep our structure we can go toe to toe with one of the best teams in CONCACAF.”

Sartini was asked about his team heading into the Coachella Valley Invitational preseason games and the upcoming MLS season.

“I think the base is there,” he said. “We need to keep working…We hope to be in this competition next year and we need to be good in the league.”

Best of Twitter

Best Caution: Wet Floor

I’m not sure what the pitch guy was doing with the water before the match but he made it rain. Players on both sides were slipping and sliding like it was raining!


I really thought White would shoot on Guzmán. It was a tight angle but it was worth a shot. After you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Best new whipping boy

With Russell Teibert’s playing days (at least as a Whitecap) over, it looks like Alessandro Schöpf is the new whipping boy for Whitecaps fans. To be fair, I thought he was better than in the first leg. But there were still some giveaways, passes that were too late and too many passes that went backwards.

Best Tecate

If there is any other positive from this game, it is worth noting ‘Caps killer André-Pierre Gignac did score. He did not have a single shot on target and had two that went wide.

Also, if you don’t the reference in the heading, I’ll explain it. In 2017, when these two teams met in this same tournament, News 1130 called Gignac…Tecate in their caption. Tecate is the sponsor of the back of Tigres’ jerseys and it is a beer.

Best technically it’s preseason

Remember, the Whitecaps were in preseason mode. These two legs could technically count as preseason games. They did well for the most part, except for capitalizing on their chances.

The 4-1 aggregate scoreline does not truly reflect the tie. It was much closer than that. The Whitecaps did well defending in their shape, except for the second half of the second leg. The press looked encouraging but again, their chances needed to be capitalized on.

This also shows how much this team needs Ali Ahmed and Sam Adekugbe who missed the tie with injuries. They also need another wing-back for the right side. Ryan Raposo is a good depth option but it is not ideal for him to start. Also, Sebastian Berhalter at wing-back didn’t work against Tigres and the experiment should not continue during the MLS season.

Wrap up

The Whitecaps will not travel back to Vancouver. They will head to Palm Springs, California for the Coachella Valley Invitational for training camp and preseason games against other MLS sides from February 15 to 21.

The Whitecaps will open their 2024 MLS season on March 2 when they welcome Charlotte FC to BC Place.