Sporting KC’s Roger Espinoza reflects on 2018, looks ahead to 2019
The first game of Sporting Kansas City’s 2019 season will come in a competition that has been unfriendly to Major League Soccer clubs.
Before it embarks on the MLS schedule in early March, Sporting KC will take part in the CONCACAF Champions League, having qualified for the competition when it won the U.S. Open Cup in 2017.
Sporting KC opens the 16-team knockout tournament with a two-game series against Mexican club Deportivo Toluca FC. Sporting KC is scheduled to play host to Toluca at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Children’s Mercy Park before traveling to Mexico for the return leg on Feb. 28. The opening leg will be the earliest competitive match in franchise history.
The MLS schedules have not yet been released, but the season is expected to commence in the opening weekend of March.
Sporting KC is set to appear the CCL for the fourth time in its history, but it will be its first appearance under a new format that places every club in a 16-team, two-legged knockout bracket. The franchise has never advanced past the quarterfinals.
No MLS team has won CCL since the LA Galaxy in 2000. The competition, which concludes with a championship series in late April or early May, features the top teams from the United States, Mexico, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.
Toluca finished with a 8-7-2 record in Liga MX in 2018.