Vancouver,BC, March 13 2018- Toronto FC became the third and final Canadian MLS club to reach the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals after fighting their way past Mexican side Tigres UANL Tuesday night.
The 2017 MLS champions won the first leg 2-1 at home, but fell 3-2 in Monterrey. After a flurry of goals from Tigres in the final minutes of a wild second leg; Toronto was able to hold on to win on the away goals rule.
Toronto got a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute from an own goal by Tigres defender Rafael Carioca after Sebastien Giovinco’s cross failed to reach teammate Jozy Altidore. Tigres would get a goal of their own from Eduardo Vargas in the 69th minute; only to have Giovinco rebound four minutes later with one of his trademark free kicks to give Toronto the away goal advantage.
In the first half; Tigres held onto the ball and controlled the game. The Mexican side nearly found a goal in the 24th minute with Jesus Duenas pulling back a cross for French international Andre-Pierre Gignac whose shot was blocked on the line by Toronto defender Chris Mavinga.
Gignac would score on a breakaway that eluded the Toronto defenders in the 82nd minute to tie the game up 2-2. A calm cool finish past American goalkeeper Alex Bono turned up the heat on Toronto for the final minutes.
Jozy Altidore’s handball added time gave Gignac another goal; this time from a penalty to give Tigres the 3-2 win.
Despite falling in Monterrey, Toronto now advances to the semi-finals for the first time in their history and will take on Mexico City’s Club America.
Tigres beat the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 2017 SCCL semi-finals; while Club America beat Montreal in the 2015 final.
Toronto will hope to be the first Canadian and MLS team to win the tournament as they progress to the semi-finals.
The semi-finals kick off at BMO field in Toronto on Wednesday March 21st.