At the beginning of the year, the idea of Toronto FC, the MLS champion, meeting the top Mexican team in a one-off game sounded like a great idea.
After all, the Reds beat Tigres and Club
America, two Liga MX giants, to reach the final of the Concacaf Champions League, where they fell to Guadalajara on penalty kicks.
But the first Campeones Cup, announced in March, turned
out to be a one-sided affair. Tigres raced out to a 3-0 lead after 66 minutes and hoisted the new trophy, 3-1, before an announced crowd of only 14,823 at BMO Field.
Toronto FC collapsed after its run to the CCL final against Chivas and sits in ninth
place in the Eastern Conference with a nine-point gap it has to make up on sixth-place Montreal and only six games to play.
Defensive problems have plagued TFC all season and they were
again evident as Erik Zavaleta gifted Tigres the third goal with an own goal two minutes after Jesus Duenas' second goal, culminating what TFC star Michael
Bradley termed "a few minutes of madness."
Injuries -- another issue throughout 2018 -- haunted TFC again as Sebastian Giovinco was suffering from cramps in
his calf and left the game in the 40th minute. Jozy Altidore wasn't injured, but when he left the game in the 57th minute with the score still 1-0, it was clear it wouldn't be TFC's night.
TFC next game is Saturday against the New York Red Bulls -- a game the Reds can't afford to lose -- which explained TFC coach Greg Vanney decision not to play the third of his
attacking stars, Victor Vazquez.
“The event is interesting," he said. "The timing of it is always going to be [an issue] in terms of finding the right time of the year to
play an event like this. But it’s interesting to have the two champions play each other; it’s just a tough time of year for us right now."
Sept. 19 in Toronto Toronto FC 1 Tigres 3. Goals: Janson 86; Duenas 36, 64, own goal 66. Toronto FC -- Bono; van der Wiel (Auro Jr. 65),
Zavaleta, Hagglund, Morrow; Chapman, Bradley, Delgado, Osorio; Altidore (Ricketts 57), Giovinco (Janson 40). Tigres -- Guzman; Rodriguez, Ayala, Juninho, Torres; Carioca, Pizarro
(Damm 85), Zelarayan (Sosa 88); Vargas (Valencia 64), Gignac, Duenas. Att.: 14,823.