Alianza FC vs. New York Red Bulls
ESTADIO CUSCATLAN, San Salvador, El Salvador
August 16, 2016 (CONCACAF Champions League)
9 pm ET (Facebook.com)
The New York Red Bulls will try to tighten their early grip on Group F as they face their first road challenge of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League in San Salvador on Tuesday.
The Red Bulls are already 1-0 in group play heading into Tuesday's meeting with Salvadoran side Alianza FC at Estadio Cuscatlan. They used their depth to good effect in their opener -- and as tight as the Eastern Conference race is, with New York in third place but just two points off the lead, that could be the case again on Tuesday.
The Red Bulls have gone out in the group stage in their two previous CCL appearances, with one victory in six matches. That came in 2014, when they opened with a 2-0 victory over FAS -- another Salvadoran side -- but then went 0-1-2 the rest of the way.
A victory on Tuesday would also be their first away from home, after opening this campaign with a 3-0 pasting of shorthanded Guatemalan side Antigua GFC on Aug. 3.
A tradition of success
Alianza qualified for this year's CCL by winning the 2015 Apertura in El Salvador's Primera Division, the club's 11th top-flight title since their founding in 1958. Alianza won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1967, the first title in that competition for a Central American team, and won the now-defunct UNCAF Club Championship in 1997. They have one CCL appearance under the new format, but were knocked out in head-to-head competition by FC Dallas before reaching the group stage in 2011-12.
His club never met New York Red Bulls II during the 2015 USL season, because the two sides play in different conferences, but Alianza forward Christopher Ramirez had a solid campaign for the third-tier Orange County Blues FC last year.
Ramirez scored eight goals in 25 appearances for the Blues, helping them to a first-place regular-season finish in the Western Conference while on loan from Salvadoran side Atletico Marte. He transferred to Alianza this summer.