One day after Sporting Kansas City secured their spot in the knockout stage of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League with a 0-0 draw against Honduran side CD Olimpia, the club learned its quarterfinal opponent on Thursday night following the conclusion of the tournament's group stage. Sporting KC moves on as the competition's seventh seed and will be paired with second-seeded Cruz Azul from Mexico.
Cruz Azul are the most successful team in CCL history, winning the tournament five times (tied for most among all clubs) and finishing runners-up in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 editions. The team's 29 wins are most in CCL history to go along with six draws and nine losses all-time in the tournament.
Founded in 1927, Cruz Azul are eight-time league champions and three-time Copa MX champions, including the Copa MX Clausura 2013 title. The team features midfielder Gerardo Torrado, whose 145 caps for Mexico include appearances at each of the last three FIFA World Cups, and goalkeeper Jose Corona, who captained Mexico to the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Cruz Azul plays its home matches at Estadio Azul in Mexico City.
The 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals will be played in March of 2014, with Sporting KC hosting the first leg at Sporting Park before traveling to Mexico for the decisive second leg. The home-and-away series will be decided by aggregate goal with the winner advancing to the semifinal round to face the winner between Tijuana (MEX) and LA Galaxy (USA). Should Sporting KC advance, Sporting Park would host the second leg in the semifinal round.
Sporting KC is one of three MLS teams to advance to the CCL quarterfinals, along with the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. Manager Peter Vermes' squad went unbeaten in the group stage (2-0-2), allowing just one goal in four games to finish atop Group 2 with eight points.
Sporting Kansas City last traveled to Mexico in 2009 for pre-season friendlies against Atlas, CD Guadalajara and Selamanca. The club is 1-5-2 all-time in international competitive matches against Mexican clubs and is one of two MLS teams to win a two-legged series with a Mexican team in CONCACAF competition. In 2002, Kansas City advanced past Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions' Cup quarterfinals.