Fans packed the stadium for the game in central Mexico less than two weeks after the 34-year-old former world player of the year signed with the White Roosters.
But the Tigres, based in northern Nuevo Leon state, spoiled the party in the ninth minute, courtesy of a goal by US forward Herculez Gomez.
At the 61st minute, the former Barcelona and Paris St-Germain player had a chance to make his mark but his penalty shot sailed over the bar.
The 2002 World Cup winner decided to play in Mexico after ending his contract with Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro in July.
While his arrival in Mexico was met with excitement, a former Queretaro local official caused a stir after calling Ronaldinho an “ape” in a racist rant on Facebook because the player’s presentation caused traffic jams last week. The former official later apologized.