VANCOUVER, BC – Mexico, here we come.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will face reigning Mexican Liga MX champions Tigres UANL in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. The ‘Caps clinched their first-ever semifinal berth on Thursday night at BC Place, defeating New York Red Bulls 2-0 to win the two-leg series 3-1 on aggregate.
Now, the journey continues.
Here are three things you need to know about Vancouver’s next opponent, who just happen to be one of the best teams in the entire region.
Tigres are based in San Nicolás de la Garza, Nuevo Leon, which is a part of the Monterrey metropolitan area in northeast Mexico. Their home stadium is the 41,650-seat Estadio Universitario, located on the campus of the public university in the region. In fact, Tigres are the university’s official team. Estadio Universitario, which is nicknamed “The Volcano,” was one of the venues for the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
The two Tigres players to watch are forwards André-Pierre Gignac and Eduardo Vargas, who may just be the best attacking partnership in the CONCACAF region. Gignac is a French international who appeared in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2016 UEFA European Championship. His goalscoring record at Tigres? Forty goals in 66 matches. Yes, you read that right. Vargas, meanwhile, led his native Chile to the 2016 Copa América Centenario title with a tournament-high six goals – one more than Lionel Messi.
Tigres are five-time Mexican Liga MX champions, including back-to-back titles in the Apertura season. They have also won the Copa MX three times, but they’ve never won the Champions League. They came close last year, falling to Club America in the tournament final. Suffice to say, they’ll be motivated as ever to take home the trophy for the first time in 2017.
Tickets for the Champions League semifinals vs. Tigres UANL are on sale NOW.