It was ugly but Tigres advanced to the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals thanks to a 1-1 draw at Orlando City SC.
Sebastián Córdova scored a beautiful goal in minute 21, chest-trapping a long cross inside the box and swiftly banging home at the back post.
Since the first leg in Mexico ended 0-0, Orlando City had to score twice to eliminate Tigres due to the away-goal rule.
The MLS club could only manage a late goal (a lovely bicycle kick by Ercan Kara) though they were scrambling in front of Nahuel Guzmán’s net as time expired.
Tigres fail to impress
Despite being tabbed as the best Liga MX side in this season’s CCL, Tigres had to battle 180 minutes to get past a modest Orlando City team.
In Florida, the Liga MX giants looked out of sorts for extended periods of time. Poor spacing and errant passing led to visible frustration which was compounded by some physical play from the hosts although Honduran ref Said Martínez called a fair game.
The Tigres’ sloppy play, bad decision-making and occasionally poor fundamentals kept Orlando City in the match, primarily because Pedro Gallese made 7 huge saves.
With some better finishing, “los felinos” would have put this game away early in the second half. Instead, the Mexican side had to sweat out a tense finish.
Coach on a hot seat
The result will preserve Marco Antonio Ruiz’s job for now, but it won’t halt the criticism that has come his way since he took over after Diego Cocca left to become the Team Mexico manager last month.
Tigres are a meager 2-1-2 in their past five Liga MX matches – scoring just 3 goals – and the team has shown a lack of discipline of late, with frequent squabbling among players on the pitch.
This weekend, Ruiz will lead his men in the all-important “Clásico Regiomontano” and a poor result against league-leading Monterrey could leave him on a very hot seat as the Liga MX calendar turns toward the stretch run.