Ricardo Ferretti is not a head coach who is known for allowing his players to take it easy on the pitch and come out speculating. His squad comes out with a smart gameplan which usually seems to work to some extent and we constantly see Tigres’ players applying solid defensive pressure as well as showing overall intensity throughout matches. Once they take a comfortable two to three goal lead, we then see them step off the pedal a bit. So, even though the results aren’t always there, lack of intensity is not something of which you can reproach Tigres on most occasions.
However, Tigres have been known to play a stinker here and there when the result appeared to be in their favor, such as the Apertura 2015 second leg vs. Pumas, into which they carried a 3-0 advantage, only to lose 4-1, drawing at 4 on aggregate and sending the series into extra time, which Tigres luckily claimed in the penalty shoot-out. Another example being their last title, where Tigres carried a 1-0 into the second leg in León, and were heavily criticized for not giving it their all, and instead extending the agony to a 0-0 draw when they could’ve had a more aggressive gameplan to try and put the series away for good with a goal. Not to mention, this past February, in this very tournament, when they faced Alianza in the QF second leg, and came seconds from being eliminated after having taken the lead in the first half. They let up a bit and paid for it, almost costing them the tournament.
If we take quick glance at Olimpia in their domestic competition, they’re no scrubs. Tigres’ rival tonight have proven to be the best team in Honduras’ top flight, going undefeated in 14 league matches this seaosn with 10 wins and 4 draws, and currently await their Semi-Final opponent from the Wild-Card round. They scored 30 goals and only conceded 9. Having said all of this, one can’t deny the facts; the Honduran league doesn’t feature the same level of teams as does MLS or Liga MX for that matter. Olimpia struggled mightily on Tuesday night when squaring off with the 9th overall seed in the MLS Eastern Conference, Montreal Impact. No disrespect intended, but the Canadian squad aren’t exactly the cream of the crop currently. The Impact conceded 10 more goals than what they scored during the regular season.
Olimpia were unable to establish themselves, and even though they created a couple clear goal opportunities, in the end it was Montreal who let the game and next round slip through their hands with Rudy Camacho’s wide open free kick header that went straight into Edrick Menjivar’s hands. And that’s the way Olimpia’s defense looked throughout most of the match, allowing Montreal strikers to fire from inside the penalty box on repeated occasions as well as pass the ball in dangerous areas, proving many of their weaknesses. The Hondurans looked unsure of themsleves with the ball at times, erring wide open passes and simply lacking the overall quality that’s needed to overcome a solid team such as Tigres.
For these simple reasons, Tigres are ample favorites to win this one and move on to the CCL Final, where they would await the winner between LA FC and América. Tigres have one of the most potent offenses in the tournament (if not the most), with Gignac, Leo Fernández and those bad boys leading the way. If they come out firing the way we know they can, they should have no trouble putting up 2 or 3+ goals on the Hondurans tonight. And despite their defense not being what we’re used to, they still managed to turn in very respectable numbers during the Guard1anes 2020 regular season. Not to mention, the shut out they pitched Tuesday night vs. NYC FC. Unless a real upset occurs, Tigres should be playing the Final come Tuesday.