PREVIEW | CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals

The semi finals of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League start this week, with two MLS teams having made it through to the final four of the competition. Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls both have a chance of reaching the final for the first time.

 

Toronto FC v Club America

This is the second time that Toronto have made the final four of the CONCACAF Champions League, having also made the semi finals back in 2011/12. Club America, on the other hand, have won the tournament seven times, including twice in the tournament’s current format. The sides will meet for the first time in the competition this week.

Having qualified for the tournament as the MLS Cup and Canadian Championships winners, Toronto then beat the Colorado Rapids in the Round of 16, winning 2-0 on aggregate.

The quarter finals were more of a struggle for the Canadian side, needing the away goals rule to advance from their tie against Tigres UANL. It finished 4-4 on aggregate, but Toronto scored twice in Mexico in the second leg to secure their qualification to the semi finals.

Club America have made the final four in a much easier way, having won 6-2 and 7-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16 and quarter finals respectively. They beat Saprissa, who have also won the CCL, 5-1 in the first leg, before a draw in the second. The Mexican side then overcome Tauro, the surprise package of the tournament, scoring four, and then three, in their two legged affair.

The first ever competitive meeting between the sides will be at BMO Field on Tuesday evening, with Club America making the trip north. The game kicks off at 8pm, which is a 1am kickoff time on Wednesday morning for UK fans.

 

Guadalajara v NY Red Bulls

The two sides have never met in the tournament, and this will be the first time the two sides play against each other in intercontinental competition.

This is only Guadalajara’s second time in the CCL, having only made the group stages in 2011/12, with this time round being the furthest they have got in the competition. The Red Bulls are in the tournament for the fourth time, bettering their performance from last year, when they reached the last eight.

To get through to the last four this year, Guadalajara overcame debutants Cibao in the last 16. They beat the side from the Dominican Republic with Jose Juan Macias scoring in both legs of the tie. In the quarter finals, they overcame the Seattle Sounders, with a 3-1 aggregate scoreline. They came from 1-0 down after the first leg to reach the semi finals.

To reach the semis, the New York Red Bulls beat Olimpia in the last 16. They beat the Honduran side 3-1 on aggregate, with Daniel Royer scoring in the first leg, before Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sean Davis bagged in the second. They then overcome Tijuana in the quarter finals, with a 5-1 scoreline. BWP scored twice, with Tyler Adams also scoring his first CCL goal.

The first leg will take place in Mexico, where the Red Bulls managed to win against Tijuana in the first leg of the quarter finals. The game will be played at Estadio Akron, with the match kicking off at 9pm CDT on Tuesday, which is a 3am kickoff on Wednesday morning.

 

Game Times:

  • Toronto v America (Wednesday 1am, UK time)
  • Guadalajara v NY Red Bulls (Thursday 3am, UK time)

 

Written by @MattJColes

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