Preview: Sporting aims for epic comeback in Concacaf Champions League Semifinals vs. Monterrey

Sporting Kansas City vs. CF Monterrey
Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 8 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League
Semifinals | Leg Two

Broadcast Schedule:
English Stream | YahooSports.com, Yahoo Sports App
Spanish TV | Univision Deportes
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM
Mobile | Sporting KC App

Sporting KC App | By The Numbers | Five Things to Know | Videos
Champions League CountdownHow to Watch Live | Match Notes | MatchCenter

Sporting Kansas City will host a Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League semifinal match for the first time when Mexican side CF Monterrey visits Children’s Mercy Park for an all-important second-leg showdown at 8 p.m. CT Thursday. Tickets for the matchup are included in Season Ticket Member packages and remain available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting welcomes the three-time Champions League winners with hopes of overturning a 5-0 deficit on aggregate.

Thursday’s contest will stream live in English on YahooSports.com and the Yahoo Sports app while airing live in Spanish on Univision Deportes. Listeners can also catch the action live locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.

Never before has Sporting reached the Concacaf Champions League Semifinals, and in order to build upon their best-ever showing in North America’s premier club tournament, Manager Peter Vermes’ men must dig themselves out of a 5-0 hole. Monterrey roared to a first-leg victory last week at Estadio BBVA Bancomer, receiving a brace from Dorlan Pabon and additional strikes from Jesus Gallardo, Aviles Hurtado and Nicolas Sanchez.

Sporting face a precarious situation entering leg two, needing to win by six or more goals to win the series. Rayados, meanwhile, can advance with a win, a tie, a loss by four or fewer goals, or a five-goal loss in which they score at least once (6-1, 7-2, etc.). If Sporting defeats Monterrey by a 5-0 scoreline, the teams will be level on aggregate and on the away goals tiebreaker. This scenario would send the clubs straight to a penalty shootout to decide the series winner. No extra time will be played.

Vermes’ side is looking to become the first team in the 57-year history of the Concacaf Champions’ Cup and Concacaf Champions League to reverse a first-leg deficit of four or more goals. To complete the comeback, Sporting will aim to carry their rampant home form into Thursday night. The club is a perfect 4-0-0 at Children’s Mercy Park in all competitions, outscoring opponents 15-1 at the heralded venue. That includes 3-0 wins over Toluca and Independiente in the Champions League and a 7-1 demolition of the Montreal Impact on March 30.

Adding further optimism to Sporting’s cause is the fact that Monterrey have claimed just one win in their last six matches and suffered a 5-1 loss at Toluca in Liga MX on Sunday. In late February, Sporting hammered Toluca to the tune of a 5-0 aggregate triumph in the Champions League Round of 16.

Led by leading scorer Krisztian Nemeth and a veteran backline of captain Matt Besler, center back Andreu Fontas and outside backs Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi, Sporting will try to make two-fold history on Thursday: pull off the greatest comeback the Champions League has ever seen and reach the tournament finals for the first time. If the hosts can reverse the deficit and score an epic upset, their dreams of becoming the first MLS club to win the title and progressing to the Club World Cup remain intact.

Monterrey, currently occupying third place in Liga MX with a 6-2-5 record under head coach Diego Alonso, are on a different crash course. Rayados have already competed at a Club World Cup, finishing third in 2012, and won three straight Champions Leagues from 2011-2013. A fourth tournament title would cement the club as a modern-day powerhouse in the Concacaf region.

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