In their preparation for tonight's Champions League battle at Deportivo Toluca FC, played at a lung-busting altitude of 8,750 feet, Sporting Kansas City have pulled out all the stops.
The Kansas City Star's Sam McDowell has reported on the club's diligent and carefully measured preparations as Sporting take the field tonight at Estadio Nemesio Diez in the highest-elevation match in club history.
"For more than a month, Sporting Kansas City used a warmer climate in the Southwest to practice and prepare for the 2019 season. But one of its top training techniques transpired while players were asleep," McDowell writes. "From their hotel rooms in Scottsdale, Ariz., players altered their bedtime routines at the request of coaches. Before they fell asleep, they pulled individual enclosures over their heads and chests. They flipped on a switch, and air pumped into the devices. Altitude tents."
#SportingKC is doing all it can to best prepare for tonight's second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League series in Toluca. For the past few weeks, that means changing the players' sleeping routines: https://t.co/9dWRaloBx9— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) February 28, 2019
During the offseason, Sporting’s front office made a point to throw resources toward competing in the Champions League, McDowell writes. This, you can certainly say, is a clearcut indication of that commitment.
Sporting carry a 3-0 aggregate lead into tonight's second leg, set for 9 p.m. CT on YahooSports.com, the Yahoo Sports app, Univision Deportes, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM. Manager Peter Vermes' side can advance to the Champions League quarterfinals with a win, a draw or a loss by two or fewer goals. A three-goal loss in which Sporting score at least once (4-1, 5-2, etc.) would also see Vermes' men advance on away goals.