There will be a new name on the CONCACAF Champions League trophy in a weeks’ time, as Toronto and Guadalajara go face-to-face in a two-legged affair to take home the title.
Toronto FC v Guadalajara
This is only Guadalajara’s second appearance in the tournament, and by far the furthest they have ever gone. Their only previous experience of the CCL was in 2012/13, when they were eliminated form the group stages. It is also the first time that they will face Toronto in intercontinental competition. The Canadian side are making their fifth appearance in the tournament’s current guise, and made the semi finals back in 2011/12, but have their first shot at the trophy this time round.
To reach the final, Toronto started their run with a two legged tie against a familiar foe. They overcame the Colorado Rapids with a 2-0 aggregate scoreline. The MLS Champions then needed the away goals rule to come to their aid to get past Tigres UANL in the quarter finals, after conceding two late goals in the second leg. Toronto then beat 7x winners Club America in the semis, winning 4-2 on aggregate.
Guadalajara’s route to reach the final has been slightly easier. They face debutants Cibao in the first round, advancing with a comfortable 7-0 scoreline. The Mexican side then came from a goal down in their tie against the Seattle Sounders to win 3-1, before overcoming another MLS side in the semis. They needed just a single goal to beat the NY Red Bulls in the last four, before holding out for two clean sheets.
To win, Guadalajara will have to overcome a third MLS side in the tournament, something that has never been done to win the CCL in the past. Toronto, on the other hand, could become the first Canadian side, and the first MLS side, to ever win an intercontinental tournament.
The first leg takes place at BMO Field tonight, with Toronto the hosts. The game kicks off at 8:15pm ET, a 1:15 kickoff time tomorrow morning for the British fans.
Leg 1 – Toronto v Guadalajara: Tuesday 17th April, 8:15pm ET (1:15am Wednesday BST)
Leg 2 – Guadalajara v Toronto: Wednesday 25th April, 8:30pm ET (2:30am Thursday BST)
Written by Matt Coles – (@MattJColes)