Quarterfinals, here we come.
The Concacaf Champions League is back at the Banc on Thursday. New round but another Liga MX giant.
In the quarterfinals, LAFC faces Cruz Azul. La Máquina has won this competition six times - second-most all-time. And they currently sit atop the Liga MX table.
León was topping the league when they arrived took on LAFC. So, the Black & Gold will have to topple another club in a good run of form. And they'll have to do it with a strong performance to start the tie at home.
Here is a preview of LAFC's first leg against Cruz Azul:
Concacaf Champions League QF Leg 1 | LAFC vs Cruz Azul | March 12 at 7:30pm
Where To Watch
TV: FS2, TUDN
Radio: KFWB 980
Cruz Azul is the hottest team in Mexico at the moment - sound familiar? Robert Siboldi's team has won five straight in Liga MX play and seven in a row in all competitions. La Máquina leads Liga MX in goals scored and goal differential. Cruz Azul's last loss came nearly two months ago on Matchday 2 of Liga MX play against Atlético San Luis 2-1.
What The Team Is Saying
Diego Rossi on how the team should approach Thursday night: "We have to keep the mentality that we have. I think that's a big part of these games. We just have to play our football. That's the mentality that is going to be important."
Bob Bradley on how Cruz Azul can be dangerous: "We certainly understand that as we go forward in every game, our ability to make good decisions and then control transitions. And it's certainly important against Cruz Azul. They're dangerous in the attack, have some special players, and our ability to manage those moments will be really important."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Kenneth Vermeer; Diego Palacios, Eddie Segura, Dejan Jaković, Tristan Blackmon; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing; Brian Rodríguez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela.
What To Watch For
Starting At Home: After the way LAFC finished against León in the last round, there's no doubt playing in front of the crowd at Banc of California Stadium is a huge advantage. In this round - and the subsequent one if LAFC advances - the Black & Gold start the two-legged series at home. How does that change things for Bob Bradley's team? Away goals become a factor but LAFC will also know it can put serious pressure on Cruz Azul with a great performance at home.
Speaking Of Away Goals: Cruz Azul is on quite the run right now. They've scored four goals in each of their last three matches in all competitions. With the prospect of going to Estadio Azteca with away goals to make up, LAFC has to be smart in the way it attacks Cruz Azul. Striker Jonathan Rodríguez is La Máquina's leading scorer and likes to get out and run in space. Cruz Azul is adept at interchanging positions on the break and they've got players that can provide Rodríguez with service in the box. This match will come down to how well LAFC controls transition moments in defense and keeps Cruz Azul out of the penalty area.
Top Of The Table: Once again, LAFC is facing a Liga MX side. And once again, that team is top of the table. But against León, the Black & Gold proved they can not only hang with the best from Mexico but they can also dominant them. These international nights call for special performances. It'll take another huge one against a Cruz Azul team that hasn't lost since Jan. 17.