Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Tueday, Sept. 13 — 7 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
English Live Stream | CONCACAF Facebook Page
Spanish TV | UDN (tape delayed at 1 a.m. CT)
Sporting Kansas City faces a must-win scenario heading into Tuesday's pivotal match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. Kickoff at Children's Mercy Park is set for 7 p.m. CT, with a live stream on CONCACAF's official Facebook page and a tape-delayed Spanish telecast on Univision Deportes Network airing at 1 a.m. CT Wednesday morning. Tickets for the game can be secured at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL as Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver square off in North America's premier club tournament.
Trailing their MLS counterparts by five points in Group C with a pair of group stage matches remaining, Sporting Kansas City must beat Whitecaps FC on Tuesday to avoid elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League. Vancouver, meanwhile, can clinch first place and a spot in next February's quarterfinals with a victory of their own.
2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League Group C standings
|1||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||2-0-0||6||4||0||+4|
|3||Sporting Kansas City||0-1-1||1||2||5||-3|
Vancouver took a stranglehold of Group C with a 3-0 home win over Sporting Kansas City at BC Place, receiving a brace from Cristian Techera and a third goal from Erik Hurtado. Peter Vermes' men drew Trinidadian side Central FC 2-2 on Aug. 16 in their Champions League opener, failing to match Vancouver's 1-0 triumph in Trinidad and Tobago on Aug. 2.
Both teams enter Tuesday fresh off three-goal performances in MLS play. Sporting Kansas City battled the Houston Dynamo to an electric 3-3 draw Friday evening at Children's Mercy Park, twice taking the lead before conceding in the 94th minute on a header from Raul Rodriguez. Jacob Peterson opened the scoring, Roger Espinoza netted a spectacular second and Dom Dwyer bagged his team-leading 13th goal of the campaign with nine minutes remaining. Peterson, who has amassed an MLS career-high five goals in 2016, became just the third player in club history to score in four straight regular season home games.
Sporting Kansas City sits fifth in the Western Conference with 39 points, five points ahead of seventh-place Vancouver. Carl Robinson's men are four points behind the Portland Timbers for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but earned an impressive 3-1 win at Columbus Crew SC on Saturday. Second-half substitutes Hurtado and Andrew Jacobson scored late to seal the comeback win after Columbus' Ola Kamara's early opener was canceled out by an own goal. The result snapped Vancouver's eight-game winless run in MLS, a brutal stretch that saw the club score just three goals over 720 minutes.
Tuesday marks the fifth meeting between Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver this season — and the third to take place at Children's Mercy Park. Dwyer notched a first-half brace to power his side to a 2-1 home win on March 12 before Diego Rubio and Christian Techera traded goals in a 1-1 draw on April 27 at BC Place. Vancouver suffered another loss in Kansas City on Aug. 20 as Jacob Peterson and Benny Feilhaber scored in a 2-0 victory. Whitecaps FC bounced back three days later at BC Place, cruising 3-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Despite its inauspicious start in Group C, Sporting KC holds a distinct upper hand in the fixture with a 6-2-3 record against Vancouver (all competitions).
Competing in the CONCACAF Champions League for the third time in four seasons, Sporting Kansas City is hoping to return to the knockout rounds after bowing from the group stage in the 2014-15 edition. The club is unbeaten in five CCL matches at Children's Mercy Park since 2013, winning three and drawing two. Vancouver is a CCL contestant for the second straight year, having failed to emerge from the group stage last fall.
The 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League group stage divides the 24 participating teams into eight groups of three and is contested in a round-robin, home-and-away, four-game format that runs from August through October. The eight group winners with then advance to the knockout round, a single-elimination format which begins with the two-legged quarterfinals in February and March 2017. The two-legged semifinals and finals are tentatively scheduled for March, April and May 2017.