• Tuesday Sep 02, 2008

    US sides look for help from home-field advantage

    The New England Revolution and Chivas USA will have to count on home-field advantage this week to advance to the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League ™ _ far more than they want to.

    Both USA's Major League Soccer clubs enter the second legs Tuesday night of the Preliminary Round after upset losses last week _ Chivas USA staring at a 2:0 deficit to Panama's Tauro FC, and the Revolution at least getting a late penalty by Maurice Castro before falling 2:1 to Trinidad's Joe Public.

    Chivas has won half of its 12 league games at home _ and won only once in 11 away from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California _ while the Revs have been almost as successful in Gillette Stadium, winning five of 12.

    Other Preliminary Round favorites should have an easier task.

    CD SC Cruz Azul takes a 6:0 lead from its first-leg victory into Wednesday's second leg in Mexico City against Belizean club Hankook Verdes, and fellow Mexican side Pumas UNAM needs only a victory at home on Thursday against Harbour View in a one-off playoff, after their match in Jamaica was cancelled due to Hurricane Gustav.

    Other matches have two USL sides looking to reach the Group Stage. The Impact de Montreal takes a 1:0 advantage against Nicaragua's Real Esteli on Tuesday, and the Puerto Rico Islanders return home with a 1:1 first-leg draw against LD Alajuelense on Wednesday. Esteli, however, won't have the full advantage of a home field, staging the game in Comayagua, Honduras, due to tournament stadium requirements.

    Wednesday's other game has CD Marathon taking its 2:2 draw against El Salvador's AD Isidro Metapan back to Honduras while Thursday also will have Deportivo Jalapa of Guatemala trying to consolidate its 1-0 home victory over Panama's San Francisco FC.

    Conditions in Panama hopefully will be better than the driving rain that marred the first leg in Guatemala and permitted only Juan Jose Castillo's goal in the 15th minute.

    With seven of the eight ties separated by two goals or less _ only Cruz Azul looks assured of a Group Stage spot.

    CONCACAF Champions League - By the Numbers

    - 1 - The first goal of the CONCACAF Champions League™ was scored by Edwin Aguilar of Tauro FC
    - 2.71 - Average number of goals per game
    - 3 - The first hat-trick of the Champions League was scored by Javier Orozco of Cruz Azul
    - 6 - Cruz Azul's margin of victory
    - 8 - Games to be played in week two
    - 19 - Number of goals scored
    - 70 - Games remaining in the inaugural tournament
    - 13,034 - Attendance at a sold-out Stade Saputo in Montreal

    02.09
    USA3: New England Revolution - CFU2: Joe Public FC (TRI) (20:00)
    USA4: Chivas USA - PAN2: Tauro FC (22:00)
    NCA1: Real Estelí - CAN1: Impact de Montrèal (20:00)

    03.09
    CFU3: Puerto Rico Islanders (PUR) - CRC2: LD Alajuelense (20:00)
    BLZ1: Hankook Verdes - MEX4: CD SC Cruz Azul (20:00)
    HON2: CD Marathon - SLV2: AD Isidro Metapan (22:00)

    04.09
    PAN1: San Francisco FC - GUA2: Deportivo Jalapa (20:00)
    MEX3: Pumas UNAM - CFU1: Harbour View FC (JAM) (22:00)

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