It’s true what they say; playoff games are the ones that count. While the regular season is important in many ways, especially when it comes to playoff seeding, the reality is that team intensity, tactics, and overall performance can change drastically when measuring a sample of each. In other words, we are talking about a whole different ball game. There’s no denying that.
With that being said, you can’t help but turn an eye to what occurred to the San Nicolás-based club this season. Because while it wasn’t very heard of, it is definitely worth noting. Tigres’ final regular season record was 7W, 7D, 3L, ending in a grand total of 28 points, good enough for the 4th overall seed, securing that final direct QF qualification spot. The interesting part is that none of those 7 victories came against any of the other 7 remaining teams currently in the playoffs. Their performance against those teams was as follows:
- @ América (R15): L 1-0
- VS Atlas (R7): D 0-0
- VS León (R8): D 2-2
- VS Santos (R3): D 1-1
- @ Puebla (R4): D 1-1
- @ Monterrey (R9): L 2-0
- VS Pumas (R10): D 0-0
While it’s true they only lost 2 of those 7, the fact they were unable to pull away with all three points in any of those matches is suprising, especially for a Tigres club who regularly rise to the occasion in the important games, as well as having played 4 of those 7 at home. It’s certainly not normal for this club, or at least it wasn’t during the Tuca era. Even more impressive is the fact they were able to finish in the top 4 despite this. Clubs who don’t defeat any of the top teams normally don’t finish as a top team themselves.
Tigres also dealt with their fair share of injuries this season, most notably Gignac’s injury during the first half of the season, to be fair. It was also their first season under a head coach that wasn’t Tuca Ferretti in 11 years, also to be fair. So, all in all, it wasn’t the simplest of seasons. However, they always seemed to have an answer and come up big in at least a couple of those big games during the season, reminding everyone they’re still contenders, considering their extremely potent and expensive roster.
Could this be a foreshadowing of things to come in the next week? It’ll certainly be tough to get by in the playoffs without winning a match. And to make matters worse, they get arguably the toughest home team in the league in Santos in their first test Thursday night. We’ll see if they rise to the occassion as we’re so used to seeing them do and prove that their regular season performances don’t tell the entire truth of their story.