The Houston Dynamo dropped a hard-fought 2-0 decision to LigaMX-leading Tigres UANL Tuesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo played Tigres on level terms for nearly 80 minutes and had several good looks at goal, but two late strikes sent the visitors back to Monterrey with the win.
Houston will visit Monterrey for the return leg in the series next Tuesday, March 12, at Estadio Universitario. With the series winner determined by aggregate goals scored over the two legs, a three-goal Houston win would send the Dynamo into the semifinals. If the teams are tied on aggregate, the side with more away goals advances, meaning that a win by two would do the trick, as long as they scored three or more goals. A 2-0 Houston win would send the series to penalty kicks.
Tigres defender Julian Quiones found midfielder Enner Valencia inside the box for the first goal of the game as the Ecuadorian international beat Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis at the near post in the 78th minute. Quiones tallied the second goal of the game four minutes later with a high shot from the top of the box that dipped late and caught the underside of the crossbar, caroming down into the goal.
Willis commanded his area throughout the match and made a pair of athletic saves to keep the Dynamo on even footing, first diving low to his left to parry away a Tigres corner kick that deflected off a Houston defender in the 47th minute, then charging off his line to cut down the angle against Valencia on a breakaway in the 71st before getting his left foot on the shot.
Houston generated the first offensive threat of the match as midfielder Boniek Garcia slipped a pass to forward Alberth Elis toward the endline in the second minute, but his effort went wide of the target. Dynamo midfielder Tommy McNamara found Elis inside the box in the 26th minute, but Elis wasn’t quite able to get his head to the cross, and his header was eventually cleared by Tigres’ backline.
Two minutes later, Tigres defender Luis Rodriguez found Enner Valencia inside the box, but pressure from Dynamo defender A.J. DeLaGarza forced the forward to mistime his jump. Valencia made contact with the cross but his header was saved comfortably by Willis. Rodriguez threatened the Dynamo backline a minute later with a cross intended for Valencia, but the forward couldn’t make contact with the ball as it dipped into Willis’ arms.
McNamara generated Houston’s final threat of the first half with a pass to Elis outside the box. The Honduran international turned away from his defender to create space, but the Tigres’ backline reacted quickly to quell the danger.
On the other side of intermission, McNamara was again the danger man as he won the ball off a defensive error in the 57th minute and found forward Romell Quioto unmarked inside the box. The Honduran international laid the ball off to Mauro Manotas, who turned onto his left foot but missed the mark with an effort at the near post.
In the 74th minute, Houston had a shout for a penalty as Manotas was clattered down at the top of the area as he ran onto a through ball from forward Marlon Hairston, but referee Ivan Barton Cisneros judged that the tackle was clean and quickly waved off any calls for a foul.
Houston Dynamo 0-2 Tigres UANL
Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals – Leg One
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
TIG: Enner Valencia 4 (Luis Quiñones) 78
TIG: Julian Quiñones (Enner Valencia) 82
LINEUPS & STATS:
Houston Dynamo: Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley ©, Maynor Figueroa, Alejandro Fuenmayor, A.J. DeLaGarza; Matias Vera, Boniek Garcia, Tommy McNamara; Romell Quioto (Marlon Hairston 67), Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis (Memo Rodriguez 81)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Kevin Garcia, Chris Duvall, Adam Lundkvist, Ronaldo Peña
Total shots: 10 (Maynor Figueroa 3); Shots on goal: 0; Fouls: 15 (Boniek García, Mauro Manotas 3); Offside: 0; Corner kicks: 4 (Romell Quioto 2); Saves: 2 (Joe Willis 2)
Tigres UANL: Nahuel Guzman; Hugo Ayala, Jorge Torres (Guido Pizarro 62), Francisco Meza, Luis Rodriguez, Julian Quiñones; Rafael De Souza (Carlos Salcedo 87), Luis Quiñones, Jesus Dueñas; Eduardo Vargas, Enner Valencia (Raúl Torres 90+2)
Substitutes not used: Eduardo Fernandez, Israel Jimenez, Francisco Venegas, Bryan Reyes
Total shots: 12 (Julian Quiñoes, Enner Valencia 3); Shots on goal: 4 (Enner Valencia 3); Fouls: 23 (Guido Pizarro, Enner Valencia 4);Offside: 2 (Enner Valencia, Eduardo Vargas 1); Corner kicks: 6 (Luis Quiñones 4); Saves: 0
TIG: Jorge Torres (caution; foul) 60
HOU: Alberth Elis (caution; foul) 63
TIG: Luis Rodriguez (caution; foul) 86
HOU: Boniek García (caution; foul) 90+2
TIG: Eduardo Vargas (caution; unsporting behavior) 90+3
Referee: Ivan Barton Cisneros (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran Santos (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Joseph Bertrand (TRI)
Fourth Official: Anthony Oshane Nation (JAM)
Weather: Clear, 48 degrees