HOUSTON — The Houston Dynamo crumbled in the last 15 minutes, letting Tigres UANL score twice in a three-minute period.
Amid the screams of “Go Dynamo” alternating with “Vamos Tigres,” the duel came to an end with a 2-0 victory for the Mexican side in the first leg of its Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
During the first half, the visitors slightly overpowered the Dynamo, possessing the ball 60 percent of the time – but Tigres was unable to score despite clear opportunities to score. Second half was the downfall of the Houston team that quickly fell apart.
“The problem for me was in the second half, that we were losing the ball too easy up front and we didn’t hold the ball the way we needed to hold the ball, and when you don’t hold the ball against a team like this they punish you,” Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera said after the game. “We got punished. We got punished at the end twice with good quality and that cost us the game.”
It was in the second half in minute 78 that changed the path of the game favoring Tigres, their Forward Enner Valencia scoring off an assist by Julian Quiñones. Minutes after giving a goal-scoring pass, Quiñones scored in minute 81 — the second and final goal of the match to give Tigres an advantage entering the second leg Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET in Monterrey, where Tigres tends to dominate and not let many visitors walk out with a win.
Although the Dynamo took a hard hit at home, there were things Cabrera liked, saying,” We managed, in some moments, to recover the ball. I think that gives us support for what is coming. It’s our fourth game of the season, and we have a long season. We can be solid and we will improve with the ball. With matches, one improves.”
Tigres, head coach Tuca Ferretti said the Dynamo is a very dynamic team – that the first half was very even, and although Tigres has the advantage next leg, his team needs treat their home as if the scoreboard is 0-0.
“I think it’s a great [Dynamo] team. Naturally, today we have an advantage, but we should not think that it’s final. We must be humble and respectful for the second leg,” said Ferretti in the press conference after the match. “We have to search to score the goal that will give us peace of mind to really achieve the pass to the next phase. I am not one of those people that with an advantage like this is satisfied, nor would I allow my players to feel this.”
Dynamo players all felt the team could have done better and that losing control of the last minutes of the games cost them those two scores, but they are optimistic that anything can happen.
“This is soccer, when you look at the flow of the game they took advantage of their opportunities and scored two goals. Now it’s our turn, “said Dynamo forward Alberth Elis.
Many changes have to be made. A new strategy created. Some might say it’s an uphill battle for the Houston Dynamo, but the teams seem to be up for the challenge.
It’s highly unlikely Tigres will ease up on their rival and it’s not easy to score in their home stadium, “El Volcan.”
The teams have a short recovery time. The Houston Dynamo will face off with the Montreal Impact for a Major League Soccer match this weekend. Meanwhile, Tigres UANL will play the “Clasico Regiomontano” with city rival Rayados de Monterrey.