Friday, April 16News That Matters

CCL Preview: Membership Leon hosts Toronto FC, Union face Saprissa, and more

Basic League Soccer’s quest to halt its prolonged Concacaf Champions League title drought begins on Tuesday, when the 2021 match’s Round of 16 action kicks off across the placement.

2020 saw Liga MX proceed to reign supreme in the match as Tigres defeated LAFC in the closing. Five MLS teams will launch their quest to knock off their Concacaf counterparts for this one year’s model of the trophy.

Tuesday will ogle both the Portland Timbers and Atlanta United in action on the avenue in opposition to stiff competition. Giovanni Savarese’s males face a outing to Honduras in opposition to CD Marathon whereas Atlanta United takes on Costa Rican energy LD Alajuelense.

Canada’s lone consultant is Toronto FC, which is in a position to search the advice of with Mexican powerhouse Membership Leon on Wednesday. Defending Supporters’ Protect winners Philadelphia Union makes their debut in the competition, but will crawl head-to-head with Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa.

2020 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew are furthermore on the avenue this week as Caleb Porter’s side takes on Precise Esteli from Nicaragua.

The eight Round-of-16 matchups are unfold across three days and the second legs will likely be performed subsequent week over the same time span. All five MLS sides launch the competition on the avenue ahead of returning home for the return legs.

Here is a closer be taught about on the matchups going thru the five MLS teams in the Round-of-16 first legs:

Membership Leon vs. Toronto FC

(Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET, FS1, TUDN)

Toronto FC faces the toughest opponent out of the MLS contingent in the Round of 16, paying Liga MX side Membership Leon a search the advice of with this week.

Chris Armas kicks off life as TFC head coach, taking on for Greg Vanney who’s now with the LA Galaxy. The Canadian club can call on stars Alejandro Pozuelo, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

Membership Leon is using a four-match unbeaten rush in league play coming into Wednesday’s first leg on the Estadio Nou Camp. Angel Mena is available in on acceptable develop for Leon, scoring three targets in his closing three outings in Liga MX action.


Deportivo Saprissa vs. Philadelphia Union

(Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET, FS1, TUDN)

Jim Curtin’s Philadelphia Union makes their debut in the Concacaf Champions League, but won’t salvage it straightforward to unhurried down Deportivo Saprissa this week.

The defending Supporters’ Protect winners will likely be without quite so a lot of key starters thru injuries, forcing others to step up. Kacper Przybylko, Sergio Santos, and Cory Burke will all likely omit the major leg for the Union, that approach Anthony Fontana or Ilsinho will likely be dilapidated in a misleading-9 build.

Alejandro Bedoya and Jose Martinez will lead the midfield for the Union, whereas defensively Kai Wagner and Jack Elliott headline the defensive gamers for Curtin to desire from.

Saprissa hasn’t won in its closing seven suits in league play, but will likely be pondering getting after the Union at home. Defensively they absorb carried out successfully during this stretch, conceding handiest six targets from the previous seven suits, but offensively they will would possibly well per chance perhaps furthermore just restful be larger to employ up a first-rate-leg grab.

Kendall Waston, Christian Bolanos, and David Guzman all absorb MLS skills and would possibly well per chance perhaps furthermore just restful be taught about to save loads of things sophisticated for the inexperienced Union at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.


LD Alajuelense vs. Atlanta United

(Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, FS1, TUDN)

Atlanta United would possibly well per chance perhaps seem admire an weird and wonderful participant in the CCL Round of 16 after a snide 2020 MLS campaign, but the Five Stripes absorb a chance to kick off a recent season in a considerable capability in Costa Rica.

Gabriel Heinze makes his Five Stripes teaching debut on Tuesday. Josef Martinez became integrated in Atlanta United’s touring community, but his recent return from ACL surgical scheme coupled with the unforgiving synthetic turf floor at Alajuelense save it now doubtlessly now not Martinez starts on Tuesday.

Atlanta United must absorb Jurgen Damm, Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres and Ezequiel Barco in attack, and would possibly well per chance perhaps furthermore just restful must lean on its defense, led by Miles Robinson, in give away to halt a unhealthy Alajuelense attack.

Alajuelense leads the Costa Rican league by six aspects and overall is using a 21-match unbeaten rush which dates your entire capability help thru December 2020. Costa Rican nationwide crew narrative Bryan Ruiz leads the Liga attack, with Cuban ahead Marcel Hernandez and Costa Rican ahead Jurguens Montenegro furthermore unhealthy threats.


CD Marathon vs. Portland Timbers

(Tuesday, 6 p.m. ET, FS1, TUDN)

Within the gap match of the Round of 16, CD Marathon welcomes the Portland Timbers to Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano on Tuesday evening.

Marathon’s 1-0 grab over the weekend helped snap a six-match winless rush in league play, a particular for the Honduran hosts. Kevin Hoyos scored the handiest goal of the match, and overall has scored twice in his closing five appearances overall.

Be pleased many other non-MLS sides, Marathon is in the thick of its home season, that would furthermore just be a profit in the closing stages of the match.

Portland will attempt to kick off its season on graceful vogue and has quite so a lot of succesful attacking gamers to desire from on the avenue this week. Diego Valeri stays the considerable playmaker for the Timbers and would possibly well per chance perhaps furthermore just restful furthermore be taught about for help from Eryk Williamson and Diego Chara with Sebastian Blanco restful out thru atomize.

Larrys Mabiala is the leader of the Timbers backline and his skills will likely be critical for Portland to fetch out of Honduras with a tidy sheet and a grab.


Precise Esteli FC vs. Columbus Crew

(Thursday, 8 p.m. ET, FS1, TUDN)

Final but now not least, the Columbus Crew will take the discipline for the major time in 2021, visiting Precise Esteli on Thursday evening.

Caleb Porter’s side is coming off a sensational MLS Cup rush, one who became capped off by the brilliance of Lucas Zelarayan, Darlington Nagbe, and others. Becoming a member of the ranks this season is dilapidated winger Kevin Molino, who adds one more dynamic part to the Crew’s already-deadly attack.

Jonathan Mensah became a 2020 MLS Defender of the Yr finalist and would possibly well per chance perhaps furthermore just restful be pondering serving to the Crew fetch off to a winning launch in defense of their title.

Precise Esteli is available in on decent develop, deciding on up two victories from its previous five league suits. They remain thoroughly in the aggregate for the Liga Primera title, sitting fourth and 4 aspects help of leaders Diriangen.

Offensively, they absorb quite so a lot of gamers coming in on acceptable goalscoring develop with Juan Berrera, Henry Garcia, and Vitor Fiasca all contributing targets during the previous five suits.


Listed right here are the opposite Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 first-leg matchups:

Archaie FC (HAI) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX) (Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET) 

CD Olimpia (HON) vs. Membership The US (MEX) (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET) 

CA Pantoja (DOM) vs. Monterrey (MEX) (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET) 

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