Campeones Cup preview: Tigres pay Toronto FC another visit
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North American heavyweights Toronto FC and Tigres UANL square off on Wednesday at BMO Field in the inaugural Campeones Cup, and for the hosts, the timing could not be worse.

Nine points adrift of the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot following Saturday's barn burner versus the LA Galaxy, the defending MLS champs face their Liga MX equivalent in a match where Toronto cannot afford any more setbacks.

An inter-league partnership sparked by the 2026 World Cup sees the Monterrey side visit Toronto six months after being bounced from the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal by Sebastian Giovinco and Co.

Tigres lost that match at BMO Field when Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio bagged second-half goals to cancel out Eduardo Vargas' opener.

How to watch

  • Date: Wednesday, Sept. 19
  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
  • TV: ESPN 2, Univision (USA), TSN, TVAS (Canada)

What to watch

After seeing their title defense ravaged by a foray in the Champions League, TFC boss Greg Vanney will again be wary of Wednesday's distraction and its bearing on the remainder of the domestic campaign.

Toronto's results against Mexican opponents have been a mixed bag. The Canadians are 4-6-4 against Liga MX sides, with nearly half of those meetings coming during the Reds' run to the Champions League final, where they topped Tigres and Club America before narrowly losing the final to Chivas Guadalajara on penalties. In the last eight against Tigres, Toronto progressed by virtue of away goals after the aggregate scoreline was knotted at 4-4.

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Tigres enter Wednesday's contest sitting seventh in the Apertura table. They've won four of nine and are unbeaten in their last four while owning one-sided victories over Atlas and Veracruz. But if Ricardo Ferretti's lot has a weakness, it's road form, and with two defeats and a pair of draws in four tilts away from home, Toronto may be buoyed by that when facing a star-studded team that features the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Jurgen Damm, Enner Valencia, and Vargas.

With three matches in seven days, including must-win fixtures against the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution, it remains to be seen how Vanney will select his squad.

"We'll see where we're at coming out of Saturday (vs. LA Galaxy) and gauge our approach (to Wednesday)," Vanney said ahead of Saturday's visit from LA, according to MLSsoccer.com's James Grossi. "We're not conceding anything, but we've got to be careful knowing that we still have games in front of us that are meaningful."

With a record-breaking season setting the table for this year's relative disaster, Vanney may be keen to rotate the squad despite the opportunity to again prove MLS' worth against quality Mexican opposition.

Even with the inconvenient timing of Wednesday's fixture, Vanney admits that a good result could be exactly what his side require with a half-dozen MLS matches left on the slate.

"It's possible," Vanney offered. "We're a product of what our season has been, what this group has endured. What we know is that there is a championship and a very good opponent on the other side. It's Mexican champion, MLS former champion in a one-off game for a cup."

By the numbers

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0: The Reds haven't been shut out by a Mexican team this year; in six matches against Liga MX sides in 2018, Toronto has bagged 11 goals.

3: The hosts have kept just three clean sheets at BMO Field this year in all competitions, with a scoreless draw in the Champions League last-16 match with the Colorado Rapids preceding 3-0 wins over the Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire.

5: Local boy and 2018 breakout star Osorio has five goals in his last nine matches to go with three assists after registering three goals in the Champions League against Mexican sides.

6: Gignac's six Apertura goals this season are second only to Santos' Julio Furch (seven). The Frenchman's two goals against TFC in the quarterfinal return leg amounted to two-thirds of Tigres' total haul against the MLS side.

11: Vanney and Co. have conceded 11 goals in their last four home MLS fixtures.

44.4: In 18 home matches this season in all competitions, Toronto has tasted victory on eight occasions for a winning percentage of 44.4 percent.

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Campeones Cup preview: Tigres pay Toronto FC another visit
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