One week into the regular season, the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo face the annual CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal test against Liga MX opposition.
Sporting KC set the tone last round with a resounding victory over two legs against struggling Toluca, but it will likely be a different story for the Red Bulls and Dynamo. The Red Bulls face a Santos Laguna team that’s won four of its last five matches in all competitions, while the Dynamo face the current Liga MX leaders in Tigres UANL, which is looking to win the double or treble this spring.
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Both MLS clubs settled for 1-1 draws in the opening weekend of the season, unable to generate enough chances to send a message to their Liga MX counterparts. The only positive, at least for the Red Bulls, is that Club Leon routed Santos Laguna 3-0 last Saturday. Then again, that could help Santos play angry against the Red Bulls in Tuesday’s first leg match.
In both MLS sides’ favors, their first leg matches take place at home, where they can hope to get off to a good start. Snow fell across the Midwest and Northeast on Sunday and Monday, making it interesting to see how the Red Bulls pitch holds up, even though there was a cover on the grass. Still, it’s two teams with major question marks still. How do the Red Bulls overcoming the loss of Tyler Adams, while for the Dynamo, how do they become a league power once again?
If an MLS team wants to win the CCL, they’d do well to knock out their Liga MX counterparts at this stage of the competition. A big first-leg win could set the stage for both clubs moving on to the semifinals.