Tuesday’s soccer news starts with Toronto FC once again trying to advance past a Liga MX club. This time, it’s Cruz Azul starting later tonight at the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando (10pm ET – FS1). Cruz Azul is top of the table in Mexico, advancing in the Champions League 8-0 over Arcahaie after finishing scoreless in the opening leg.
It’s that scenario that should resonate for Toronto, who should expect to need to take a lead to Mexico City on May 4. That’s the most straightforward scenario for Toronto, hopefully without giving up away goals. Cruz Azul moved to the Estadio Azteca three seasons ago, with Toronto facing an away date on the biggest stage in Mexican soccer. Even without fans, there’s the idea that this isn’t a stadium where things regularly go the away team’s way.
“Look, we’re excited for the matchup,” Toronto coach Chris Armas said. “We were excited for the Leon matchup. We knew it would pose certain challenges for us. Now this poses lots of different challenges for us that we think we’ll be ready for. But we are excited here at TFC.”
Though new signing and designated player Yeferson Soteldo isn’t available, he used his introductory press availability to underline the importance of the game. “I want to get there as soon as possible and start working with my teammates. I want to show my commitment and what I bring to the game,” Soteldo said. “In the meantime, I want to wish the team all the best in the next Concacaf Champions League game against Cruz Azul.”
Meanwhile, in the other Champions League Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea is at Real Madrid in the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinals. Both teams were caught up in The Super League breakaway last week, with UEFA considering banning participating teams from continuing to compete in the Champions League. Instead, it’s a return to business as somewhat usual. There’s a spot in the finals on the line over the next 180 or more minutes. That starts at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Real Madrid’s training ground stadium.
“It’s key to really try to enjoy the moment,’ Pulisic said. Champions League semifinals don’t come around every day. It’s an amazing time for us. Personally I’ve been looking forward to this game for weeks. It’s a big moment, there are nerves and a lot of preparation involved. The key is going to be having a really good start to the match, showing our energy and showing we’re ready for this competition.”
Marca’s Pablo Polo previews Real Madrid vs Chelsea. ESPN’s Tom Hamilton looks at both semifinals. CBS Sports’ Jonathan Johnson and Fabrizio Romano looks at RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann plan to move to Bayern Munich as an opportunity for Jesse Marsch. DW asks about paying a €30m transfer fee for a coach. The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson works through what’s happening with Spurs.
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Graphic courtesy of Concacaf