Jesus Lara (pictured) knows that his Cruz Azul team will face a difficult opponent in Costa Rica's Herdiano, when they meet on August 22, 2013, in the CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)
For Cruz Azul v Herediano game notes, please click here.
MEXICO CITY – Five-time confederation champion Cruz Azul makes its return to the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) on Thursday, when it hosts Costa Rica’s Herediano at the Estadio Azul.
After appearing in the first three editions of the competition -- advancing to two finals -- the Mexico City-based side missed out on the last two.
The teams have squared off twice before in CCL play. Cruz Azul won their 2009-10 preliminary round series, 6-2 on aggregate, triumphing by that exact score in the first leg in Heredia.
Since then, Herediano has shown marked improvement. In last season’s CCL, it advanced to the quarterfinals, where it was eliminated by the LA Galaxy, 4-1 on aggregate. In nine of the Florenses last 10 games in the tournament, it has conceded one goal or less.
Cruz Azul midfielder, Jesús Lara, realizes that the 2013 Costa Rican Clausura champion will be a difficult opponent and that complicated match is to be expected.
“They are a team that comes to play, comes to fight and will leave everything out on the field, so we need to be well concentrated and into the match,” said Lara.
Herediano arrives into the tilt against Cruz Azul with plenty of confidence.
It is unbeaten after two matches in domestic league play, including a 2-1 away win last Sunday against Puntarenas. Yendrick Ruiz broke the deadlock with a goal in the 70th minute.
At Haiti’s Valencia in its CCL opener, six different players scored in a 6-1 triumph, including Ruiz just before the stroke of half-time.
Goakeeper Daniel Cambronero was steadfast in that the team arrives to Mexico with a winning mindset and will be going for the three points.
“We have the personnel to take the game to Cruz Azul,” said Cambronero via Herediano’s Twitter account.
Cruz Azul is level with Santos and Monterrey for the most wins in CCL history at 25. It can establish a new mark against Herediano, but will have to do so without the services of forward Javier Orozco. The CCL’s all-time leading scorer with 24 goals, moved to Santos this past offseason.