After the weekend’s stumble against Tigres UANL, Cruz Azul is ready to return to their winning ways. On Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014 they take on Sporting Kansas City of the United States’ Major League Soccer (MLS) in quarterfinals action of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Azulinos made the trip to Kansas on Sunday and have already held a practice session at Sporting Park, where they will face the team formerly known as The Kansas City Wizards. It should be noted that the MLS just started their regular season last weekend, which could be hard for the three representatives that will be facing Mexican clubs during this stage of the region’s tournament.
Both teams did not have a good outing on Saturday losing in their respective leagues. Cruz Azul fell 3-0 against a resurfacing Tigres UANL at the Universitario Stadium in Monterrey, Mexico. Sporting fell in their 2014 season opener 1-0 against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
La maquina cementera rolled over their competition in Group 3 winning all four games. The over powered Costa Rica’s Herediano and Haiti’s Valencia. They scored 10 goals and only allowed two in the first phase of the tournament.
Sporting had a tougher challenge. They won two of their matches and drew the other two. Kansas won both their away games 2-0 against Honduras’ Olimpia and Nicaragua’s Real Estelí. They drew their two home games. In the four matches Sporting scored five goals and allowed one.
The two teams have never faced each other so there is no statistic to measure the encounter. Cruz Azul has a longer history in CONCACAF with 10 appearances that date back to 1969. La maquina has won the regional championship on five occasions with the last being in 1997.
Sporting is a different story. They have three appearances in the Champions League. They participated in their first tournament in 2002 and reached the semifinals of the competition. Their last appearance was still under the Champions Cup in 2005. The 2013-14 season is their third participation.
Cruz Azul is looking for their sixth title, their first since 1997. Sporting KC is looking to make history by winning the Champions League (current format) since the L.A. Galaxy won the title in 2000.