Sporting Kansas City opens its 2014 home schedule on Wednesday as the club faces Mexican opponent Cruz Azul FC in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series.
The match, scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m., will be nationally broadcast live on Fox Sports 2 (English) and Univision Deportes Network (Spanish). Fans can also listen to the match locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Sporting Kansas City was the first team to qualify for the 2013-2014 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League after winning the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in a penalty kick shootout against the Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Park. Sporting KC’s Champions League berth was the first for the club under the tournament’s new format. The team previously qualified for the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2002 and 2005.
Sporting KC was drawn into Group 2 of the tournament alongside Real Esteli FC (Nicaragua) and CD Olimpia (Honduras), and opened the group stage with back-to-back road victories against each opponent. The defending MLS Cup champions then secured consecutive draws at Sporting Park to finish atop the group standings and advance to the quarterfinal round.
Goalkeeper Eric Kronberg started all four group stage matches for Sporting KC, recording a 0.25 goals against average to date in the competition. Forward Soony Saad leads Sporting KC for goals in the 2013-2014 tournament with two.
Cruz Azul qualified for the 2013-14 edition of the tournament after finishing as runner-up in the 2013 Liga MX Clausura Liguilla in a match also decided in a penalty kick shootout. Cruz Azul held a perfect 4-0-0 record in Group 3, beating Herediano (Costa Rica) and Valencia (Haiti) two times each en route to outscoring its opponents 10-2 in the group stage.
The CCL quarterfinals will consist of a two-legged home and away series. The decisive second match will be played in Mexico City on March 19 and the team with the lead on aggregate at the conclusion of the second game will advance to the semifinals.
Cruz Azul currently leads Liga MX with a 8-1-1 record in 2014. Mexican national team goalkeeper Jesus Corona leads La Maquina with six shutouts in 10 matches and a 0.60 goals against average to start the Clausura campaign. The club’s lone loss came in Cruz Azul’s last outing as the Mexican side fell 3-0 on Saturday at Tigres UANL.
Striker Marco Fabian, who joined Cruz Azul on loan from CD Guadalajara in December, is tied for the team lead with four goals scored. Fabian and Corona were both members of the Mexican Under-23 National Team that won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. That squad was managed by current Cruz Azul head coach Luis Fernando Tena.
Fans can follow the match online via @SKCGameday on Twitter and visiting SportingKC.com/GameOn.
- Story from Sporting KC