The Year of the Tiger: 2016-17 in Review

It’s been a frustrating end to the season for Tigres fans, no doubt about it.  We’ve blown our shot at the Club World Cup, and have just finished runners-up in the Clausura, in part thanks to a questionable no call from the official late in the 2nd leg.

It’s disappointing.

Tigres have been so good of late, especially this season, that we as fans are disappointed with a title and two silver medals.  It may take some time for things to settle in, but 2016-17 has possibly been the greatest year in club history in terms of results and overall performance.

Apertura 2016

Let’s not forget, just 6 months ago, on Christmas day, we were the champions of Mexico.  We pulled off a heart pounding victory over América in a hard fought series to claim our 5th title, and our 3rd in the past few years.  We were so good, in fact, that talk began emerging that Tigres were perhaps becoming “the fifth grande.”

People debated if this Tigres team was the best team to EVER play in Mexico, and we were runaway favorites for the title as soon as the season began; and we DELIVERED on that, walking into the playoffs and taking home the trophy.

There were so many positives to take away from the Apertura; for example, we had the best defense in the league, hands down.  From Jornada 4 all the way through to the end of the season, we never fell out of the top 4.  And of course, the biggest and most important thing: we won.

CONCACAF Champions League

We entered this competition with something to prove; after all, we’d lost in the final the previous year.  And once again, we performed, handling our group opposition and then comfortably defeating Pumas and Vancouver en route to the finals once more.  There, we fell 2-1 to Pachuca, again missing out on a Club World Cup spot.  This one stung.  I understand the frustration, and it only gets worse because it keeps happening to us. Copa Libertadores 2015, CCL 2016, now CCL 2017; when will we win a continental final?

So yes, within the context of this season, this competition was a big disappointment, but Tigres fans, I urge you to think about this club, and think about what it means that we have come to a point where finishing runners-up in the biggest tournament in the region is a “down year.”  In this season, sure, maybe it was a bad result.  But in the history of Tigres at-large, this was no small feat.

Clausura 2017

Again, there is some understandable frustration here.  We’ve lost another final, this time to Chivas, and were handily outplayed in both games until the final few minutes of each.  And this whole season was clearly our worst competition of the year.  Perhaps it was a championship hangover, but the reigning champs (who according to the pundits, would only improve thanks to editions like Eduardo Vargas) struggled out of the gates.

Indeed, we were poor until a late surge in the season saw us sneak into the playoffs.  But after squeaking into the liguilla, what did people have to say about us?  Of course, we were overwhelming favorites again!  Tigres were hotter than everyone else and had superior personnel to the other 7 liguilla teams, and we proved it in the first two rounds, comfortably disposing of arch-rivals Rayados and the league leading Tijuana.

Pause for a second: are you really going to complain about a season where we straight up embarrassed Rayados in a playoff series?  Yes, in the end, we came up just a few minutes short of back-to-back titles; and I know it’s frustrating considering our recent history in finals.

But remember the good in this season, because there was a lot of it.  We had a fantastic run to the final and ran Monterrey off the field, at El Volcán and in their own building!  There aren’t too many Tigres seasons out there that were better than that.

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