Who will get betrayed? Whitecaps fan heads into Leagues Cup conflict with cut up allegiances

Carlos Rehlaender is a lifelong Tigres fan. However since shifting to Vancouver, he’d adopted the Whitecaps — and now he has to decide on the place his loyalties lie.

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Carlos Rehlaender peered into his crystal ball, and appreciated what he noticed sooner or later.

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Tigres versus Vancouver Whitecaps. His previous dwelling, versus his new. His perpetually group versus his new love.

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“I used to be anticipating this match because the brackets had been launched six months in the past,” the 27-year-old mentioned of Friday’s Leagues Cup match at B.C. Place.

“I used to be doing the numbers and calculating. ‘OK, the Caps can tie with León and might win towards (LA) Galaxy and Tigres will do their factor different MLS groups,’ so to be sincere, I used to be anticipating this match, and I’m actually enthusiastic about it.”

Rehlaender and his spouse, Alejandra, moved to Vancouver from Monterrey, Mexico, on the peak of COVID-19’s international grip in 2021. He took a job with Lululemon as she was engaged on her MBA, which she accomplished in December.

They settled in East Van, predictably the place the soccer-infused couple ended up simply up the street from B.C. Place.

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“All my life, my mother and father and my grandparents are Tigres followers. We’ve adopted the group … all my life,” he mentioned. “Each day we meet in Monterrey, we’re speaking about sports activities; 24/7 at work, at dinner, in school. Everyone in Monterey is actually passionate.

“It’s in my blood, my household. In all my historical past, the Tigres membership has held an enormous presence. Tigres followers within the Nuevo León state, they’re actually passionate. We love soccer.”

Regardless of his daring prediction and information of the longer term, Rehlaender isn’t positive what he’s going to do on Friday evening. Root for his childhood love, his historical past? Or for the group that they’ve embraced, the identical manner the town has embraced them?

Carlos Rehlaender
Carlos Rehlaender, a Vancouver Whitecaps fan, who moved right here two years in the past is ready to observe his childhood favorite group Liga MX group Tigres face off Friday within the Leagues Cup at B.C. Place.. Picture by NICK PROCAYLO /00101864A

Would rooting for both group over the opposite really feel like dishonest on a partner?

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“Yeah, it seems like that,” he mentioned.

“We’re seasons passholders within the 248 part; we sit simply behind the South Sisters. So we stay all of the matches actually passionately,” mentioned Rehlaender. “I don’t know (what I’m going to do). I feel I’m going to put on each (jerseys) in some way.

“I don’t suppose that the South Sisters are going to be actually blissful if I present up with my Tigres equipment.”

When León, one other Liga MX group, visited B.C. Place two weeks in the past, the stands had been stuffed with black-and-green striped jerseys of visiting followers. They had been loud, full-throated and energetic. The identical is predicted when Tigres come to city.

Might the reverse occur? Might Rehlaender sport a Whitecaps jersey in his Mexican hometown, the place soccer has an impression past fandom and stretches to religiosity?

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“Possibly, yeah,” he laughed. “We’re actually passionate and take soccer and soccer actually severely … however we’re pleasant as properly.”

Rehlaender’s first publicity to the Whitecaps got here in 2017 when Tigres and Vancouver clashed within the CONCACAF Champions League. He watched on TV as Whitecaps legend Brek Shea gave the house group a 1-0 lead at B.C. Place within the first leg, then celebrated as objectives from André-Pierre Gignac (sixty fourth minute) and Damián Álvarez (84th) put Tigres in entrance.

He watched the second leg in individual at El Volcán in Monterrey, a recreation that was scoreless till the 66th minute when a Kendall Waston  aim put Tigres in entrance for good, and a coffin-sealing dagger from Eduardo Vargas with six minutes left.

“I do not forget that Alphonso Davies took an image with the Tigres star, André-Pierre Gignac. That was a very massive deal as a result of after that, everyone knows the story of Davies,” he mentioned.

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“I used to be shocked as a result of the ultimate rating was actually tight. I used to be anticipating a run up by Tigres, to be sincere,” he mentioned. “They had been like a very organized group, particularly the harmful new younger star Davies, and actually impressed all of the followers in Mexico.”

The Whitecaps come into the sport with their normal underdog standing. Tigres are persistently one of many prime Liga MX sides, even when they’ve completed behind their derby rivals, Monterrey, lately.

Tigres and León battled within the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals this yr, with Los Panzas Verdes popping out on prime earlier than dispatching LAFC within the remaining.

They beat the Portland Timbers 2-1 of their first recreation, solely scoring the winner within the eightieth with the MLS facet right down to 10 males after 44 minutes.

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They then outlasted the San Jose Earthquakes in a 1-0 victory to prime their group, and e book a date with Vancouver.

“It’s gonna be very onerous,” Caps coach Vanni Sartini mentioned of his opposition, which gained the 2023 Liga MX Clausura.

“Taking part in towards Tigres within the CONCACAF is like taking part in Actual Madrid in Europe. They’re giants; they’ve at all times been one of many prime groups in Mexico, Champions League winners, they even went to the finals of the World Cup Championship (2020), so it’s gonna be a large recreation for us by way of growing and going to our subsequent step.

“On the identical time … after we play at B.C. Place, we now have the utmost respect for everybody, however we don’t worry anybody. We wish to do one other (Leagues Cup) spherical. And the extra that we’re on this competitors, the extra that we want to keep in.”

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With out selecting one facet or one other, Rehlaender appeared assured his (childhood) hometown group had the sting.

“Tigres, within the final 10 or 15 years, have been a very aggressive group,” he mentioned. “House owners have put some huge cash within the group, not solely on the gamers. I feel they’ve gained like six championship within the final possibly 12 years, which is a very, actually big accomplishment.”

However he was bullish on the way forward for soccer in Canada, particularly watching the younger expertise on the sphere, and the younger supporters who’ve joined the supporters teams within the South Aspect.

“That is simply beginning now, the eagerness and the love for the game,” he mentioned. “I can see it within the youngsters, they get actually excited on the stadium. I can see that the brand new technology of Canadian gamers or nationwide groups, some which might be taking part in in Europe.

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“Canada goes to be actual protagonists within the subsequent World Cup.”


Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Tigres UANL

Friday, 7:30 p.m., B.C. Place

TV: Apple TV. Radio: AM730

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