Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

CONCACAF Champions League final – schedule, preview

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Toronto FC’s bid to become the first MLS side to win the CONCACAF Champions League begins Tuesday when it hosts Chivas de Guadalajara in the first match of the two-legged series. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the continental bout.

1st leg

  • Date: Tuesday, April 17 at BMO Field
  • Kick-off: 8:15 p.m. ET

2nd leg

  • Date: Wednesday, April 25 at Estadio Chivas
  • Kick-off: 10:30 p.m. ET

Toronto FC has gone all-in on the Champions League, resting key starters in MLS action to give itself the best chance of winning the only major trophy that’s missing from its cabinet.

And the opportunity to end Mexico’s hegemony in the competition is too good to ignore.

The Reds have already defeated two Mexican sides, Tigres UANL and Club America, to set up the showpiece meeting with Chivas de Guadalajara. Considering Chivas is currently 16th in Liga MX and in desperate need of consistent scoring, it can be argued Matias Almeyda’s outfit is the weakest of that trio.

However, history looms large. Mexican teams have won each of the past nine Champions League finals, and although the Montreal Impact came close in 2015, an MLS side has yet to clear the last hurdle.

Five of TFC’s starters are also at risk of missing the second leg. Drew Moor, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Jozy Altidore, and Sebastian Giovinco are all just one booking away from a one-match suspension for yellow-card accumulation – a niggling concern that could affect Toronto’s overall approach.

“You (have to) foul in a smart way,” Osorio told reporters Monday. “You go after the ball and don’t make it so obvious. You’ve got to play smart. You can’t take stupid yellows for talking to the ref and stuff like that. You’re just a little more cautious, but the way you play doesn’t change too much.”

Fortunately for Greg Vanney and Co., Victor Vazquez (back), Justin Morrow (calf), and Chris Mavinga could return just in time after missing both legs of the semi-finals. Altidore, meanwhile, is expected to recover from a foot injury suffered against Club America.

Chivas took the opposite route to the final, fending off MLS rivals Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls thanks to solid defensive performances. It withstood a shelling at Red Bull Arena to progress 1-0 on aggregate, registering just one shot to New York’s 20 to prevent an unprecedented all-MLS affair.

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

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