Clearly the biggest game in team history, after the rematch in Mexico this will be game #2. At the end of this game, even well after media access was over, there was a major cloud of doubt as to whether the return match would be put off as the NBA had already shut down, a few soccer players diagnosed with the Coronavirus and a few actors plus a travel ban?
There were but a pair of adjustments to the starting XI of NYCFC from their last game as Keaton Parks and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, were inserted in lieu of Maxi Morales and Jesus Medina. As Tigres had a great run at goal in the first 30 seconds, I expected this to be a long night, luckily, it was not a harbinger of things to come. NYCFC, did more than answer back in short order, although neither team would find the back of then net for over 90'. Callens, a bit more familiar with opposing players than many teammates as he plays for the Peruvian National Team, all but hit for 3 goals in a row in these CCL matches, but he played it high and over the bar, one of may near goals in a frentic first half for both sides. Team captain Alex Ring had a good look at goal, as did Mitrita and Ismael, Ring fed Heber, but the Tigres backstop, Guzam was more than up to the challenge.
Though played at not nearly the speed of the opening stanza, the "Home Team" came out for the 2nd as they ended the first, getting in on goal. Just 3' in it was again Heber getting at it, this time froom Tinnerholm but his shot from in close was halted as was his game as Taty Castellanos came in at 64', I would not have replaced him if there were not 3 more games on the near horizon. Medina & Moralez would soon enter as well while coach Delia sought to find that one go ahead goal to break the stalemate. Mitrita, dangerous in a big way thus far this season went through a number of opponents but his shot was off frame at 77'. Sean Johnson was not tested much as the defense was holding strong, was foced into a save at 86', deftly steering the ball over the crossbar. A rebound off the NYC Gk lead to the goal by Vargas at 91' to seal the deal and the crowd went crazy. Despite their protestations, the NYCFC defenders were unable to make a sucessful appeal for an offside call, it was at the far goal from me.
Tigres had 2/3 of the very vocal crowd, that will increase in numbers by a third in Monterrey and in volume by far more. Tigres who just held the ball for minutes at a time as they lay in wait will certainly do more of the same at home as NYCFC will need a pair of goals more than them to advance. Tigres had not beeen so successful in away games during CCL play, but they pulled one out late this time. This was a far stronger team than San Carlos, but there were many positives to take away from this game, gettig more shots off and of course in is what they need most when they visit Tigres at home.