Toronto FC advances on away goals despite second-leg loss to Tigres

Much of the the talk leading up to the series between Toronto FC and reigning Liga MX champions Tigres focused on the plight of Major League Soccer teams in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Mexican squads had dominated teams from MLS, winning all nine of the tournaments to date.

That chatter didn’t change despite the Reds heading to Mexico for the second leg of the series with a 2-1 advantage, earned at BMO Field two weeks ago.

But the reigning MLS champions pulled off one of the most impressive victories in the tournament’s history Tuesday night, advancing to the semifinals on away goals despite a wild 3-2 loss in the Monterrey stadium nicknamed “The Volcano”.

After a tense but largely quiet first half, the game opened up in the second 45 minutes.

Sebastian Giovinco forced a Tigres own goal with a succinct cross in the 62nd minute to open the scoring for Toronto FC, but the home side quickly pulled even on an Eduardo Vargas header off a corner kick a mere seven minutes later.

Giovinco gave the Reds a second — and critical — away goal in the 72nd minute, curling a free kick into the top right-hand corner of goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman’s net from about 30 yards out.

Andre-Pierre Gignac tied things up in the 84th minute and put Tigres ahead after again beating Toronto FC keeper Alex Bono on a penalty in the 93rd to bring the teams level on aggregate.