Action from the August 7, 2013, CONCACAF Champions League game between Sporting Kansas City (blue) and host Real Esteli. (Photo: Pinolerosports)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- An early top-of-the-table clash in Group 2 is one of the highlights of the next round of games in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) as Olimpia hosts Sporting Kansas City Tuesday night in Tegucigalpa.
Both teams enter their second game after similar success to open the Group Stage with both winning on the road against Real Esteli. Sporting Kansas City, however, currently sits atop Group 2 on goal difference, winning 2-0 at Estadio Independencia on August 7, while Olimpia left Nicaragua with a 1-0 victory two weeks later.
Since securing maximum points from its first-ever CCL match, Sporting Kansas City returned to Major League Soccer play, defeating the New England Revolution, 3-0, at Sporting Park and suffering a pair of 1-0 losses on the road – at the San Jose Earthquakes and, most recently, at the Chicago Fire on Friday night.
“We gave up a very amateur goal early in the first half. It gave them some life and we were chasing ever since,” Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said after the match. “I thought we created more than enough chances to get back in it. We actually really had some good chances and the frustrating thing is we didn’t score. That’s really on us.”
The good news, Vermes said, is that his club has little time to dwell on its recent domestic defeats with a huge Champions League clash in Honduras on the horizon.
“After winning the Open Cup last year, that’s the world we’re in,” Vermes commented. “We want to be in the competitions. It’s exciting for us to be involved in that. We need to continue to stay in form for the league as well, not just the Champions League. Good thing is, we have a lot of games left and we have to get back on it quick.”
Olimpia, meanwhile, returned to its winning ways in the Honduran Apetura, beating Parrillas One on Saturday, 1-0, with Antony Lozano scoring the lone goal in the 67th minute.
What is even bigger news for Olimpia is that it appears standout forward Roger Rojas, 23, looks set to join English Premier League side West Ham United on a one-year loan with an option to buy. Media reports in England claim that the Honduras international, who was in the Olimpia starting lineup on Saturday, could make his move official as early as Monday.
The Lions, who recently sold midfielder Alexander Lopez to the Houston Dynamo, are unbeaten in five of their last six CCL outings.