Vancouver's Carl Robinson confirms 'gap' between MLS and Liga MX
MONTERREY, Mexico -- Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson was happy with the effort and discipline of his side in its 2-0 loss to Tigres in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg on Tuesday, but was full of praise for Liga MX champions Tigres after the game.
"Tigres showed tonight they are a top team," said former Wales international Robinson, whose side had just 21 percent of possession in the defeat.
"They play a certain way here in Mexico and it's a great way. It's technical and they like the ball and they do it very, very well."
Robinson admitted that a gap in quality between Liga MX and Major League Soccer clearly exists -- "anyone that says there isn't a gap doesn't understand football" -- adding that catching up is a slow process and that MLS is doing everything in its power to reduce it.
Liga MX teams have now lost only twice in their last 53 games against MLS sides in Mexico, but despite Vancouver's obvious underdog status heading into the April 5 second leg, Robinson is still hopeful his team can pull off a famous win.
"We must get the first goal in the next game and then we'll see where it goes," said Robinson, stressing that advancing to the final was "not impossible."
On the Tigres side, coach Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti refused to get carried away with the result and said his team has to play in the same way in B.C. Place next month.
"It's a win, but we can't be over-confident," he said after the game. "We have to keep thinking with humility and when we play them next time, we have to have the same mentality as today."
A Kendall Waston own-goal and volley from Eduardo Vargas sealed the victory for Tigres, with the winner of the semifinal going through to face FC Dallas or Pachuca in the final.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.