Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency's hopes of reaching the semifinals in the Gordon Jago U-19 Super Group at Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXII suffered a setback following a 2-0 defeat to Mexico's Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (Tigres UANL) on Monday afternoon.
Hopes were high that Richard Grootscholten's side could take another step towards winning Bracket C with a result at Pizza Hut Park Field #7 in Frisco, Texas. However, a goal in each half by Tigres UANL put the Mexican side in pole position to reach the Super Group's last four at the end of the week.
A hot and windy Texas day greeted both sets of players for Monday's midday clash, and there was a high tempo to the match from the start. Facing a stiff breeze in the first half, the Residency squad were made to chase the game from the very early stages after Tigres took the lead on three minutes. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre initially saved a far-post header back across goal, but Tigres converted the rebound from close range for a 1-0 lead.
The goal prompted a positive response from Whitecaps FC, as they looked to equalize. On eight minutes, Caleb Clarke took a Doudou Toure pass before sailing a shot over the Tigres crossbar. On 17 minutes, Toure went even closer after beating two defenders in the Tigres box before hitting the post with his shot. The Mauritanian then forced the Mexican club's goalkeeper into a good save with a free-kick strike just before the half-hour mark.
Despite the Residency's best efforts to restore parity, Tigres extended their advantage on 57 minutes. After winning possession near the byline in the 'Caps box, Tigres scored from the edge of the six-yard box with a simple finish for a 2-0 lead.
Vancouver made several substitutions to try and change the course of the contest, but Tigres held on for a second win in as many days at the Dallas Cup, with the Mexican outfit now favourites to reach Friday's Super Group semifinals.
"We didn't start as well as we did yesterday, and we fell behind early," Grootscholten told whitecapsfc.com after Monday's game. "We had three good chances to respond, but we were unable to score from those opportunities. After we went two goals down, we tried to press high up the pitch, but I didn't think we played well enough in the second half to turn things around. Mexican clubs are technically good and like to play the ball about on the ground. Tigres were good at that today. We will discuss and review today's game in our meeting tonight, and look ahead to Wednesday's game. We have a chance to win the Bracket, so we will try and achieve that."
With Corinthians defeating Real Salt Lake U-17/U-18 Academy 4-1 in Monday's other Bracket C match, Whitecaps FC will now need a big win over the Utah club's academy side in Wednesday's final group match (Kickoff - 8 a.m. PT) and hope the Brazilians defeat Tigres later that evening (Kickoff - 6:30 p.m. PT). All four Bracket winners in the Gordon Jago Super Group advance to the semis.
Whitecaps FC Residency - line-up vs. Tigres UANL (Dallas Cup XXXII)
1.Brian Sylvestre; 14.Adam Polakiwiecz, 3.Derrick Bassi, 17.Daniel Stanese, 15.Declan Rodriguez; 6.Kevin Cobby (21.Ben McKendry 74'), 2.Bryce Alderson (16.Alex Rowley 81'), 12.Carlos Marquez (4.Wesley Cain 55'); 8.Ben Fisk (10.Tim Hickson 68'), 18.Doudou Toure (11.Dalen Babic 76'), 5.Caleb Clarke (7.Spencer DeBoice 68')