Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Sporting Kansas City are within striking distance of the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League. All they have to do to get there is take care of business at home.
Sporting KC can essentially put one foot into the next round of the competition on Tuesday night if they can defeat Nicaraguan club Real Esteli in the first CONCACAF Champions League match at Sporting Park. A victory would move Sporting KC six points clear of Group 2’s other participant, Olimpia, which would leave the Honduran side in the precarious situation of needing to win both of its remaining matches to have a chance at unseating Sporting KC.
With so much at stake, it seems all but likely that Peter Vermes will rely on usual starters like Graham Zusi and Matt Besler against Real Esteli, especially since they are well-rested after not having had a game during the last round of MLS fixtures.
For MLS fans, the other intriguing match on Tuesday night will take place at Buck Shaw Stadium. The San Jose Earthquakes host the Montreal Impact in a do-or-die match for both clubs, as they both trail Guatemalan outfit Heredia in Group 5.
The Earthquakes should come out flying considering they are at home and in more need of points after failing to pick up any in their first two matches. But that could play right into the hands of the Impact, who are likely to deploy most of their regular starters in an attempt to pull level on points (six) with Heredia.
On Wednesday, the LA Galaxy return to action with a home game against El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan. The Galaxy could afford to rest some regulars for this one seeing as they have two other matches remaining in Group 8 and only trail leaders Cartagines by one point, but Bruce Arena is still likely to field a strong lineup capable of picking up all three points at StubHub Center.
OTHER CCL MATCHES THIS WEEK:
Group 4: America vs. Sporting San Miguelito 9/17
Group 3: Herediano vs. Valencia 9/18
Group 6: Caledonia AIA vs. Toluca 9/18
Group 1: W Connection vs. Arabe Unido 9/19
Group 7: Luis Angel Firpo vs. Victoria 9/19
What do you think of these matches? Which match are you looking forward to most? Do you see Sporting KC winning at home? Who will come out victorious between the Impact and Earthquakes?
Share your thoughts below.