Cruz Azul and Gerardo Torrado (pictured) will meet Sporting Kansas City in the quarterfinals of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY, MÉXICO – Next week, Cruz Azul will return to CONCACAF Champions League action in search of a record sixth confederation club crown, but the process of achieving such a lofty objective won’t be simple.
Midfielder Gerardo Torrado realizes that La Maquina’s quarterfinal series against Sporting Kansas City -- the current Major League Soccer champion -- is going to be a difficult proposition.
“I think that they can be a very disciplined opponent tactically, physically very strong and a very serious opponent for which we will have to study well,” Torrado told CONCACAF.com.
The first leg will be played March 12 at Kansas City’s Sporting Park, a venue with which Cruz Azul has no familiarity. Despite the possibility of chilly temperatures, Torrado is looking forward to the trip and witnessing firsthand the passion Sporting’s supporters.
“It is going to be a wonderful experience, to play on a field in the United States,” commented the 34-year-old. “I imagine that there will be a good crowd. I don’t know their fans, but I think they support them a lot, so it will also be a delightful experience for us.
“It is going to motivate us to come out to a good atmosphere and look to win.”
The Cruz Azul-Sporting Kansas City pairing is one of three quarterfinals pitting clubs from the United States and Mexico against each other. In Torrado’s opinion, this will further cultivate competition between the North American leagues.
“The rivalry has grown a lot between the Mexican teams and the U.S. teams,” he noted. “Football in the U.S. has improved in a considerable form. There is no doubt Sporting Kansas City is an opponent that we will have to analyze well to be intelligent about them.”
Torrado assures the fans of Cruz Azul that the squad – just as in Liga MX play -- will give maximum effort against Kansas City in its bid to secure a semifinal berth.
“In the league, the team is very committed,” finished the Mexico national team veteran. “We are eager to do things well, have a good team, work hard in the team and we look for the same in the Champions League.”