If it was probably any other team in the league, it would more than likely be a SELL. But this is Tigres de la UANL that we’re talking about. This is president Miguel Garza. This is head coach “Tuca” Ferreti. This is Nahuel Guzmán. This is André-Pierre Gignac. This is Guido Pizarro. This is Hugo Ayala. This is the most solid and consistent core of any other team in Mexico. This is the Team of the Decade. This is Tigres.
With one of the typical inconsistent starts you see to a season, Tigres has dragged its way through the first 10 games of the season before the COVID-19 put the season on hold. Their home and away record are exact opposites, as they haven’t lost a game at the Universitario, but have yet to win a game in any other stadium. They have competed fiercely and lost to clubs like America, Cruz Azul, and Santos, but have struggled in draws against San Luis and Puebla, and barely defeated Juarez at home.
After their slow start, Ferreti’s team have slowly crawled up the table and made their way into playoff territory, as they stand at 7th overall, along with five other teams. But by this point, we’re all used to Tigres’ slow starts to their seasons. And just like clockwork, they start to pick it up at just the right time to get a higher seeding in the table. Tuca knows his team doesn’t have to be perfect to be champion, and plans his seasons accordingly to do just enough when it comes time. So, this is all “part of the plan”.
And the thing is, this team is probably the most experienced, together with America when it comes to playing high-level and high-intensity games. They are once again one of the top defensive teams in the league, having allowed only 10 goals so far, trailing only Puebla surprisingly, who have allowed 7. They continue to maintain their core players such as Guzmán, Ayala, Pizarro, Aquino, and Gignac, and are still waiting for Julian Quiñones to regain the level of play he showed before going down with his knee injury. Their entire Starting XI is one to be feared by all.
And let’s not forget that one of their top foes (Rayados) will miss the playoffs this season, so that leaves only America as a true top-tier rival. You have your second-tier rivals such as Cruz Azul who have yet to prove they have it in them to go all the way, and Santos, who I don’t believe can compete in a big game with Tigres. Every other team is expendable and will probably not go far.
I’ve gotta go with a no-brainer BUY as things begin to fall into place to come down to the same teams it always does. And even as Tigres stuggled in the CONCACAF Champions’ League at home vs. Alianza and looked to be the surprise elimination of the tournament, as all big teams do, they found a way in the dying moments and forced their way to the next round thanks to the clutch header by Nahuel Guzman. With all their inconsistencies shown in 2020, this team continues to prove that when it needs the result, it comes through.
If the league does return and playoffs are able to be completed, there is no apparent reason why I wouldn’t buy Tigres as favorites, as things continue to fall into place for them, and their quality begins to show in the league table. They have sneaked into the top spots many times before and that’s when they have been the most dangerous. Let not their seeding or early struggles deceive you, as this complete and healthier-by-the-day-team continues to be lethal when needed. Have no doubt, all other teams must watch out come playoff time.