GUADALAJARA, Mexico — FC Dallas won’t be facing the baby felines this time around. Pumas UNAM head coach Guillermo Vázquez says he’ll field a full-strength team for Wednesday’s trip to Pizza Hut Park in CONCACAF Champions League play (8 pm ET, FOX Soccer).
“I proposed it [to the first-team players], told them that this [competition] is important to me and that they should participate and play,” Vázquez told reporters shortly before leaving for Texas. “I had a very favorable response from each of them.”
Dallas scored a famous victory against an under-strength Pumas in Mexico City on Aug. 17, the first for a MLS team on Mexican soil in tournament history, and the repercussions have been felt in Mexico.
“Pumas: to emphasize the prestige of Mexican soccer,” reads one headline in sports daily Récord, with numerous other publications invoking the notion of “revenge” for last month´s defeat.
Vázquez said the three points, not revenge, against Dallas is what is driving the seven-time Mexican champions before their crunch Group C trip to Toronto on Sept. 27, which could go a long way to deciding which teams go through to the knockout stages.
“This game is very important," added Pumas defender Luis Fuentes. “We want to get the points and to achieve our goal, which is to advance.”
One likely absentee for Pumas is forward Juan Carlos Cacho, who traveled to Texas but will be a substitute after having been out of action since late July.
Tom Marshall can be reached at email@example.com.