MONTERREY, Mexico — Kendall Waston’s own goal in the 66th minute cost the Whitecaps as Vancouver fell to Mexico’s Tigres UANL 2-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal.
Edurado Vargas added an insurance goal in the 87th minute for the Tigres.
The rematch with Tigres goes April 5 at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium.
Playing in Mexico has historically been a nightmare for Major League Soccer teams, who are a combined 2-43-8 in Champions League play. That’s two wins in 53 games.
Crosses into the area were an issue for the Whitecaps all night, with Vancouver’s defence unable to keep tabs on all of the Tigres’ players.
Vancouver ‘keeper David Ousted had a close call just seven minutes into the match as a corner ball was deflected and fell to the feet of Andre-Pierre Gignac, who had a virtually empty net in front of him. His dribbling shot, however, gave Ousted enough time to dive and make the save.
Ousted had another close call in the 56th minute with a Tigres’ corner bouncing from player to player, with a Gignac header being directed straight to the charging Luis Quinones. The Whitecaps goalkeeper couldn’t get his hand on the ball but Quinones’s header went over the crossbar.
Ousted was shook up on the play and needed a few moments to compose himself after Quinones had run into him.
Waston’s misplay of a cross was Vancouver’s undoing. Gignac dribbled the ball down the left side of the field and into the box and made a light right-footed cross that Waston redirected into his own net at the 66th minute.
An exhausted Whitecaps defence was exposed again in the 87th minute. Quinones sent a cross through Vancouver’s area, with an unmarked Jurgen Damm Rascon gathering up the ball and unleashing a booming shot that ricocheted off a Whitecaps defender. Vargas was in perfect position to volley that bounce in from near the penalty spot for the 2-0 lead.
The Whitecaps have a draw and a loss to open their MLS season, including Saturday’s 3-2 defeat in San Jose against the Earthquakes that saw Vancouver blow a 2-0 lead after goalkeeper Ousted was sent off.
Vancouver beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in the Champions League quarter-finals to move onto the last four of the competition that features teams from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The Whitecaps are the third Canadian team to make the semis after Toronto FC in 2011-12 and the Montreal Impact in 2014-15.