CCL Journal: Nicaragua Edition 2014-15

The 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League tournament has officially kicked off which means it's time to bring back everyone's favorite Sporting KC CCL Journal! Here at Sporting Kansas City, we are committed to bringing you in-depth coverage of your favorite team; whether that's at Sporting Park, on the road in New York or Seattle, or in another country that's 3,000 miles away.

So as we make the journey through CCL Group 2, we'll be bringing you all the sights and sounds of our trips to make you feel as if you are along for the ride. Tuesday's match against Real Esteli will kick off at 9pm CT and can be seen on FOX Soccer Plus or the Fox Soccer 2GO app.

Our man on the ground Jonathan Kaplan will provide us updates on the team's journey that begins Monday morning with a pit-stop in Brownsville, Texas, and ends Wednesday morning when the team touches back down in Kansas City.

Also, be sure to follow @SportingKC on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news surrouding the Sporting KC organization.

8/18/14 - 8:40AM - Good morning, SKC Nation! It's a beautiful day in Kansas City as we prepare to head to Nicaragua for our first 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League group stage match.

Our first delegation, which consisted of an Equipment Manager, a Team Administrator and a security officer traveled yesterday. The rest of the group, which includes the team, technical staff, trainers, doctors and another security officer is at the airport now waiting to board the plane.

08/18/14 - 4:00PM - Sporting Kansas City has landed safely in Nicaragua ahead of tomorrow night's group stage opener. Check out the photo slideshow below with pictures courtesy of

08/18/14 - 7:00PM - All quiet on the Nicaragua front. After surviving the media horde at the airport, Sporting Kansas City has settled into our hotel in Managua. Upon arriving at the hotel, the team quickly scurried to a conference room for a lunch that consisted of rice, steamed vegetables, chicken and beef. As always on these trips, Sporting KC Fitness Coach Mateus Manoel is very cautious with the food the player's eat to make sure no one is eating anything that their body is not accustomed to and could result in sickness.

The evening will consist of an optional gym workout - although by the show of hands at dinner it looks at as if all will be participating - as well as dinner afterward. The power already went out once at the hotel and some storms clouds have rolled in, so we could be in for a very interesting night in Managua.

We'll be back soon! (weather permitting)

08/18/14 - 10:40PM - Gym workout and dinner were a success and the boys are ready for tomorrow.

Dinner consisted of vegetables, pasta, grilled chicken and fish. There was also some post-meal entertainment as a few players who are traveling for the first time partook in a Sporting KC ritual and sang a song of their choice.

We also have a few tidbits regarding tomorrow's match to share with SKC Nation:

  • Real Esteli's weekend match against Walter Ferreti was called off because 14 players between the two sides were with the Nicaraguan national team for last Thursday's friendly against Guatemala. So while the team had the weekend off, five players, including starting goalkeeper Justo Lorente played last Thursday and then took a bus home from Antigua, Guatemala following the match.
  • Speaking of Lorente, the Esteli goalkeeper is currently suffering from torticollis. From what we can tell, it is not serious and he will be available for selection tomorrow.
  • One player who might not be available for selection is Juan Barrera, who started both of Esteli's matches against Sporting KC in the 2013-14 Group Stage. El Nuevo Diario reported on Thursday that Barrera would miss the match with the ankle injury that he suffered in their first CCL match against Deportivo Saprissa. However, a report today suggests that Barrera might be available to play.
  • The referee for Tuesday's match will be Enrico Wijngaarde (Suriname). The assistant referees will be Kedlee Powell (Jamaica) and Jair Zachari Zeegelaar (Jamaica) and the fourth official will be Dwight Royal (Jamaica). This will be Wijngaarde's first match as the center referee in this year's competition, but he officiated two knockout round matches in the 2013-14 tournament as well as three 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches including the United States' 5-1 win over El Salvador in the group stage.
  • And lastly, the picture below is the preview article from Monday's El Nuevo Diario. Bonus points if you can find which Sporting KC players' named are misspelled (click on the photo to enlarge).

08/1914 - 11:00AM - It's gameday! Sporting Kansas City will take on Real Esteli tonight in our first 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League group stage match. The match will kick off at 9pm CT and can be seen on Fox Soccer Plus and Univision Deportes Network.

It's been a fairly uneventful morning in Managua as the team prepares to make the three-hour journey to Esteli for tonight's game. The hotel laid out a nice fruit/pastry spread for breakfast which was followed by a short Peter Vermes video session.

Also of note this morning is that Equipment Manager Michael Flaherty completed his first school supply drive here in Nicaragua. Flaherty was interviewed by a local journalist yesterday regarding the drive. We'll have more pictures to share later.

Lastly, I was able to pick up a copy of La Prensa at the hotel this morning. It had a short preview of the game, mostly with quotes that our players and coaches gave at the airport yesterday. It also implies that forward Juan Barrera will miss tonight's match with Samuel Wilson shouldering the load of the attack.

No internet again until we get to Esteli. Talk to you soon!

08/19/14 - 2:00PM - Storylines and stats. News and notes. Here's more than enough reading that encompasses it all ahead of tonight's encounter:

August 19 - 5PM - We're coming up on three hours to kickoff and things are starting to pick up in Nicaragua. After a two-and-a-half hour bus ride from Managua to Esteli, the team checked in at Hotel Los Arcos, a quaint hotel less than five minutes from Estadio Independencia.

The time at the hotel included a pregame meal - chicken, pasta, rice, vegetables, etc. - as well as the opportunity to relax after a busy 24 hours of travel.

The first bus left the hotel at 3:30pm local time - Esteli is one hour behind Kansas City - and that included both equipment managers, a trainer, a security officer and myself. Here is a look at the venue we'll be playing in tonight.

We are all good on the internet front for now, but are not hopeful once the production gets under way. Keep checking back, though, and we'll continue to post updates throughout the night, if possible.