Toluca have been training hard to counter the San Jose Earthquakes’ threat from set pieces and crosses ahead of the teams' CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg on Wednesday in Mexico (8 pm ET, FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes), according to Diablos Rojos left back Miguel Ponce.
“It is a team with very tall players; physically, it is strong,” the Sacramento-born Ponce said in quotes published by MedioTiempo.com on Tuesday. “We’ve got to be attentive to long balls, which they did a lot of in the last game. They equalized the game from a dead ball.”
Fellow defender Francisco Gamboa said in the same story that part of Toluca’s plan is to give away as few free kicks as possible near the penalty area.
Toluca go into the second leg as favorites with an away goal in the bag after the 1-1 tie in the first leg, and Mexico international winger Isaac Brizuela is confident San Jose will not be able to keep up the same energy as last week in Liga MX’s highest stadium.
“It won’t be easy, but I don’t think they’ll maintain the rhythm they had there,” Brizuela said. “Now we have the conditions and fans on our side, and it’ll be different.”
Toluca coach José Cardozo has a full squad to choose from, and there has been no indication of whether he may hold back key players like Paraguayan Pablo Velázquez, Brizuela and Sinha, as he has so far in the CCL.