The Full 90

Sporting KC to open Champions League play with matches in Nicaragua, Honduras

Updated: 2013-07-03T02:38:30Z

By TOD PALMER

The Kansas City Star

Sporting Kansas City will open on the road when the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League swings into action next month.

Making its inaugural Champions League appearance under the new format, which started in 2008, Sporting KC kicks off Group 2 play Aug. 7 against Real Esteli FC at Estadio Independencia in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Sporting KC’s first match against CD Olimpia also will be on the road Aug. 27 at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

“I like the fact that we have to go and play a difficult spell right off the bat,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “We know that both places are going to provide their challenges, but we’re going to have to get our mentality around it and get ready to play.”

Real Esteli plays the return leg at Sporting Park on Sept. 17, while CD Olimpia arrives Oct. 23.

“That tournament really is about taking care of your results in group play,” Vermes said. “We’ve really got to be ready for that first game on the road in Nicaragua.”

The top team among the three in the round-robin group stage will advance to the knockout round of the 24-team tournament, which includes league champions and national cup winners from throughout North American, Central America and the Carribean.

Sporting KC, which reached the Champions’ Cup semifinals in 2002 and the Cup quarterfinals in 2005, qualified for the Champions League by winning the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Olimpia has won 27 domestic championships in Honduras and qualified for the sixth consecutive Champions League, while Real Esteli owns 13 championships in Nicaragua and has made the Champions League four times.

“We’re getting excited,” Vermes said. “It’s going to be tremendous. We’re looking forward to it.”

Tickets for Sporting KC’s home matches go on sale July 10 at Ticketmaster.com or the Sporting Park box office.

Both games are included in season-ticket member packages and season-ticket members wishing to purchase additional tickets will have access to a special presale beginning at 10 a.m. July 8 through Ticketmaster.com.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here