Sporting KC Looks For A Comeback as the Duel Continues in the Concacaf Champions League Semifinals Second leg vs. Monterrey
Among the four remaining teams in the tournament, Sporting Kansas City, Monterrey, Tigres and Santos, the Monterrey are the lone team to have actually won the SCCL.
On April 11, 2019, Sporting Kansas City will be looking for a better result than the loss suffered in the Match #26 when three-time Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (SCCL) winners Monterrey hosted Sporting KC in the first leg of the 2019 SCCL semifinals at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Monterrey. The MLS club was shutout by Monterrey as they took their next step toward a fourth title, scoring 5 goals to Kansas’s 0. Although possession in the match was equal between the two teams, Monterrey got off 19 shots to Sporting KC’s 6.
A fourth tournament title for Monterrey would cement the club as a modern-day powerhouse in the Concacaf region.
This will be the second meeting between the two teams in the SCCL, but this time the match will take place at home for Sporting, a team led by manager Peter Vermes who remains undaunted by last week’s results, although he has to dig his team out of a 5-0 hole. Perhaps looking to past accomplishments will help bolster the odds of victory.
Sporting is just the second team in MLS history to win
a SCCLknockout round match on Mexican soil when it topped Toluca 2-0 in the Round of 16 secondleg.
One big advantage for two-time MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City is that his upcoming match will be played at home in their world-class soccer-specific stadium. Kansas City is a real soccer city and the team’s fans are committed to supporting their city’s MLS team. Often packed with soccer fans, Children’s Mercy Park was opened in 2011 and hosts high-profile events on the MLS and international level, including the Concacaf Gold Cup, CONCACAF Women’s Championship, FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the 2013 MLS Cup, 2013 MLS All-Star Game, and two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finals.
Never before has Sporting reached the Concacaf Champions League Semifinals, and in order to build upon their best-ever showing in North America’s premier club tournament, Vermes’ players must rise to the challenge. This time, Sporting looks to stop Monterrey’s Dorlan Pabon, Jesus Gallardo, Aviles Hurtado
Vermes’ side is looking to become the first team in the 57-year history of the Concacaf Champions’ Cup and Concacaf Champions League to reverse a first-leg deficit of four or more goals.
To complete the comeback, Sporting will aim to carry their rampant home form into Thursday night.
The club is a perfect 4-0-0 at Children’s Mercy Park in all competitions, outscoring opponents 15-1 at the heralded venue.
That includes 3-0 wins over Toluca and Independiente in the Champions League and a 7-1 demolition of the Montreal Impact on March 30.
Adding further optimism to Sporting’s cause is the fact that Monterrey
Led by leading scorer Krisztian Nemeth and a veteran backline of captain Matt Besler, center back Andreu Fontas and outside backs Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi, Sporting will try to make two-fold history on Thursday: pull off the greatest comeback the Champions League has ever seen and reach the tournament finals for the first time.
If the hosts can reverse the deficit and score an epic upset, their dreams of becoming the first MLS club to win the title and progressing to the Club World Cup remain intact.
According to Besler, “Monterrey have quality players at every position, they have a lot of depth, they are well coached and they have a system that they have been playing for a number of years.”
It will be tough. Sporting faces a precarious situation and needs to win by six or more goals to win the series.
Rayados can advance with a win, a tie, a loss by four or fewer goals, or a five-goal loss in which they score at least once (6-1, 7-2, etc.).
If Sporting defeats Monterrey by a 5-0 scoreline, the teams will be level on aggregate and on the away goals tiebreaker. This scenario would send the clubs straight to a penalty shootout to decide the series winner.
No extra time will be played.
This will be Kansas City’s sixth match vs. MEX teams in SCCL and Sporting KC is one of the top scoring teams in 2019 SCCL with 9 goals. One fun fact: 78% of Sporting’s goals were scored in the 2nd half, mostly between minutes 60-75. Sporting also ranks high in shots and also one of the leaders in assists.