América’s stunning loss at the hands of Nicaragua’s Real Estelí will surely be a cautionary tale for Tigres and Guadalajara as they make their Concacaf Champions League debuts tonight in Canada.
The Chivas are in Hamilton, Ontario, to face Forge FC while Tigres are out west in Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps and they no doubt have read the news of the Aguilas’ comeuppance.
Of course, everybody expects América to overturn the 2-1 first-leg deficit at Estadio Azteca next week, but the lost points could penalize the Aguilas later on in the tournament.
Seeding is determined by results and “Los Azulcremas” are sitting on 0 points, while Monterrey – a 4-1 winner at Guatemala’s Comunicaciones yesterday – have 3 points.
Chivas pay a visit to Ontario upstarts
Guadalajara, the legendary Liga MX side that was founded 117 years ago and boasts 12 league championships, takes on Canadian Premier League club Forge FC, a franchise that dates back to 2017.
Despite still being wet behind the ears, The Hammers have already collected four CPL titles and are playing in their second Concacaf Champions League tournament already (Forge was eliminated by Liga MX team Cruz Azul in the Round of 32 back in 2022).
Chivas coach Fernando Gago had already announced that he would be rotating players to keep the squad fresh for both league and CCL duties. So it’s no surprise that Guadalajara traveled to Canada without starters Víctor Guzmán (captain and midfielder), Roberto Alvarado (winger), Erick Gutiérrez (midfielder) and Jesús Orozco (defender).
The Chivas don’t have extraordinary depth, but Gago & Co are confident that there are some hidden gems on the roster and they’ll get the chance to prove it.
“El Rebaño Sagrado” is coming off a 2-0 road win against Atlético de San Luis with Guzmán collecting both goals from the penalty spot. Gutiérrez also played a key role, saving a sure goal off a San Luis corner kick when he drifted back toward goal in time to clear a shot off the line.
The first-leg match takes place tonight at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, with the return match set for Guadalajara’s Estadio Akron on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Tigres on the prowl in British Columbia
Robert Siboldi and his Tigres will face a familiar rival at Starlight Stadium on Vancouver Island tonight as “los felinos” and the Vancouver Whitecaps have met twice before, including in the Round of 16 in last year’s Leagues Cup.
Back on Aug. 4, Tigres battled the Whitecaps to a 1-1 draw at BC Place – Vancouver’s traditional home ground – before subduing them in the penalty shootout, 5-3.
The two teams also met in the semifinals of the 2017 Concacaf Champions League with the Liga MX giants winning both legs – 2-0 at “El Volcán” and 2-1 at BC Place.
The Whitecaps are celebrating the franchise’s 50th anniversary and decided to play tonight’s CCL match on Vancouver Island to pay tribute to the support of the local community there. The team has even “officially” changed its name to Vancouver Island Whitecaps for tonight’s contest.
While Tigres is off to a nice start in Liga MX play (3-2-0, tied for first place), the MLS season has yet to begin, so Vancouver will be at somewhat of a disadvantage. Samuel Rowan has a thorough match preview at The Third Sub.
The two clubs will meet next Wednesday in the second leg at “El Volcán” outside of Monterrey.