Sporting Kansas City and Deportivo Toluca FC are on a collision course, the outcome of which will be decided when the clubs meet in the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. Sporting will host the first leg of the aggregate-goal series on Thursday at Children’s Mercy Park (get your tickets here) before venturing to Mexico for the decisive second leg on Feb. 28. In the buildup to this titanic battle, SportingKC.com is providing weekly updates on Los Diablos Rojos as part of the site’s Tracking Toluca series.
In their final Liga MX fixture before traveling to Children’s Mercy Park for the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16, Deportivo Toluca FC slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Leon on Saturday night.
Los Diablos Rojos are now 0-4-1 in their last five Liga MX matches, having scored just once during their winless skid, and occupy 13th place in the league table. The visitors failed to record a single shot on target Saturday against a superior Leon side that did all of its damage in the second half. Angel Mena opened the scoring with a 69th-minute penalty kick and added a late third in stoppage time after Jose Macias slotted home to make the score 2-0 on 76 minutes.
Toluca entered the weekend in precarious form, as their 1-1 stalemate with Cruz Azul last Sunday snapped a three-game losing streak and a scoreless draught of almost 350 minutes.
Manager Hernan Cristante’s side held firm through the first hour against Leon and thought they had grabbed the lead in the 59th minute when Emmanuel Gigliotti placed a diving header into the corner of the net. VAR overturned the goal for offside, however, and seven minutes later Toluca’s Antonio Rios was sent off for an egregious handball offense inside the box. Mena buried the ensuing spot kick and Macias capped off a flowing move shortly thereafter to double Leon’s lead.
Toluca’s misery was compounded in the 93rd minute when Mena bagged his second of the night to seal the 3-0 result. Leon ended the game with a 16-5 advantage in shots, including a 5-0 edge in shots on goal.
Cristante made two changes to his lineup from last weekend’s 1-1 stalemate versus Cruz Azul. Recently acquired Argentine midfielder Federico Mancuello earned his first start, replacing the injured William da Silva, while Gigliotti replaced winger Carlos Esquivel to join Enrique Triverio in a two-man front line. In the 84th minute, Mexican U-20 international Ivan Acero entered for his first appearance of the Clausura campaign.
Starting XI in 4-3-1-2 formation (R-L): Alfredo Talavera; Rodrigo Salinas, Jonatan Maidana, Adrian Mora, Osvaldo Gonzalez; Felipe Pardo, Antonio Rios, Federico Mancuello (Luis Mendoza 78); Pablo Barrientos; Enrique Triverio, Emmanuel Gigliotti (Ivan Acero 84)
Subs not used: GK Luis Garcia, DF Santiago Garcia, DF Omar Tobio, MF Carlos Esquivel, MF Leonel Lopez
In the midst of a brutal domestic slump, Toluca will aim to use the Champions League as a springboard to turn their season around. At long last, los Diablos Rojos will travel north of the border to face Sporting KC on Thursday at Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. CT, streaming live on the Yahoo Sports app and YahooSports.com with a Spanish-language telecast on Univision Deportes Network. Tickets for the Round of 16 first leg are included in Sporting KC Season Ticket Member packages and remain available to the general public at SeatGeek.com.
Toluca Statistics (2019 Liga MX Clausura)
Record: 2-4-1, 7 points (1-1-1 home; 1-3-0 away)
Table: 13th in Liga MX
Goals for: 6
Goals against: 9
|FW Enrique Triverio||7||7||624||3||0|
|DF Adrian Mora||4||4||360||1||1|
|DF Santiago Garcia||5||5||450||1||0|
|FW Alexis Canelo||3||3||268||1||0|
|MF Pablo Barrientos||6||5||448||0||1|
|MF Leonel Lopez||2||0||48||0||1|
|MF Antonio Rios||7||7||606||0||0|
|MF Luis Mendoza||7||5||376||0||0|
|DF Rodrigo Salinas||6||6||540||0||0|
|MF Felipe Pardo||6||4||388||0||0|
|DF Osvaldo Gonzalez||5||5||450||0||0|
|DF Jonatan Maidana||4||4||360||0||0|
|FW Emmanuel Gigliotti||4||2||269||0||0|
|DF Omar Tobio||3||3||270||0||0|
|MF Carlos Esquivel||3||1||88||0||0|
|FW Diego Abella||3||1||52||0||0|
|MF Alan Medina||3||0||63||0||0|
|MF Federico Mancuello||2||1||102||0||0|
|DF Richard Ruiz||1||1||82||0||0|
|DF Cristian Borja||1||0||8||0||0|
|FW Ivan Acero||1||0||6||0||0|
2019 Toluca Schedule and Results
|Friday, Jan. 4||at Morelia||Liga MX||W 3-1|
|Sunday, Jan. 13||PUEBLA||Liga MX||W 2-0|
|Sunday, Jan. 20||at Guadalajara||Liga MX||L 0-1|
|Sunday, Jan. 27||TIGRES UANL||Liga MX||L 0-1|
|Saturday, Feb. 2||at Tijuana||Liga MX||L 0-2|
|Sunday, Feb. 10||CRUZ AZUL||Liga MX||T 1-1|
|Saturday, Feb. 16||at Leon||Liga MX||L 0-3|
|Thursday, Feb. 21||at Sporting KC||Champions League||7pm|
|Sunday, Feb. 24||at Santos Laguna||Liga MX||6pm|
|Thursday, Feb. 28||SPORTING KC||Champions League||9pm|
|Sunday, March 3||VERACRUZ||Liga MX||12pm|
|Saturday, March 9||at Necaxa||Liga MX||9pm|
|Sunday, March 17||ATLAS||Liga MX||1pm|
|Saturday, March 30||at Pachuca||Liga MX||8pm|
|Sunday, April 7||MONTERREY||Liga MX||12pm|
|Saturday, April 13||at Queretaro||Liga MX||5pm|
|Sunday, April 21||CLUB AMERICA||Liga MX||12pm|
|Sunday, April 28||at Pumas UNAM||Liga MX||12pm|
|Saturday, May 4||LOBOS BUAP||Liga MX||9pm|