Sporting Kansas City vs. CD Olimpia | CONCACAF Champions League Match Preview

SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kansas
October 23, 2013 (CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage)
8 pm ET (FOX Soccer Plus, Univision Deportes 2)

MLS Supporters' Shield contender Sporting Kansas City and Honduran champion CD Olimpia will take the field Wednesday night at Sporting Park as the CONCACAF Champions League group stage draws to a close, and there's still plenty to play for.

The group remains up for grabs, with Sporting holding the slight edge over Olimpia heading into the match (check out the standings here). All Sporting need to do to advance to the CCL quarterfinals is earn at least a draw while Olimpia need a win to leapfrog Sporting and claim the group.

Sporting Kansas City team news

Sporting enter the match with a 2-0-1 record in their previous three CCL matches. In two matches against Nicaragua's Real Esteli, Sporting came away with a 2-0 win in their trip to Central American and a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park. In the only match against Olimpia thus far, Sporting won convincingly in Honduras, 2-0. Sporting KC are participating in their first international competition since the 2009 SuperLiga. It's also their first continental championship since the 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup.

Sporting enter the game having already clinched a berth in the MLS playoffs thanks to a 16-10-7 record heading into the regular season. In addition to a potential CCL quarterfinal berth, Sporting are also in play for the Supporters' Shield, but will need the New York Red Bulls to drop points in their season finale against the Chicago Fire and win their own game at the Philadelphia Union.

Head coach Peter Vermes' side have built their season once again on the back of a stifling defense that has allowed just 29 goals in 33 games (0.88 goals per game) in the MLS season and just one goal in three CCL games. Aurélien Collin and Matt Besler have been Vermes' preferred center back pairing in the regular season, but Ike Opara is the only center back to start all three CCL games so far, having partnered both Collin and Besler.

Up top, the goals have been around in the CCL – Soony Saad leads the way with two, both of them in the win over Olimpia, while Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson and Opara have each chipped in a goal.

CD Olimpia team news

Founded in 1912, CD Olimpia are 27-time Honduran champions and are considered the most successful club in the country, capturing both the Apertura and Clausura titles during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The Lions have represented Honduras extensively in international competition, winning the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in 1972 and 1988 while finishing runners-up in 1985 and 2000. CD Olimpia qualifed for the 2001 FIFA Club World Championships (along with the LA Galaxy) but the tournament was cancelled.

CD Olimpia are one of only two teams in CONCACAF to participate in all six editions of the CONCACAF Champions League (along with El Salvador’s Isidro Metapán) since 2008-09. The team reached the quarterfinals during the 2010-11 tournament, their best finish under the new format, and are now 11-9-5 all-time in CCL competition with 36 goals for and 28 goals against. CD Olimpia are unbeaten in six of their last eight CCL matches (4-2-2), which includes a pair of 1-1 draws against the Houston Dynamo in last year’s tournament.

With five games remaining in the 2013 Liga Nacional Apertura season, CD Olimpia currently sit tied for first place with Real Espana with a 7-4-2 record. Sunday’s victory snapped a four-game winless streak. Anthony Lozano scored twice, moving him into second on the league’s goal scoring chart with eight this season. Roger Rojas also added a goal, his seventh of the year and third straight game with a goal, while Carlos Mejia scored the game-winning goal.

Olimpia have scored just twice in CCL play, both in 1-0 wins over Estelí. Bayron Méndez found the net in the team's group stage-opening win, while Lozano scored in the return leg of the series.

About the CONCACAF Champions League

The CONCACAF Champions League consists of 24 teams separated into eight groups of three teams that play a round-robin, home-and-away format. The winner of each group will advance to the quarterfinals. Sporting KC qualified for the tournament after winning the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Sporting was randomly chosen for Group 2 with Real Esteli and CD Olimpia

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