Tonight, the New York Red Bulls begin their first CONCACAF Champions League campaign since the 2009-10 season when they play the first ever CCL match at Red Bull Arena.
The other two teams in Group 3, Montreal Impact and C.D. FAS, have already played each other twice, which means that all four remaining games in the group stage will involve the Red Bulls. Montreal defeated FAS both home and away and sit atop the group with six points and a +2 goal differential.
Here is a preview for tonight’s opponents, C.D. FAS:
Club Deportivo Futbolistas Asociados Santanecos is a team founded in 1947, based in Santa Ana, El Salvador and playing in the country’s Primera Division. Nicknamed Los Tigres, the Central Americans qualified for this year’s continental tournament by being the team with the most points by a non-winning finalist in the Salvadoran 2013 Apertura/2014 Clausura.
Coached by Efraín Burgos, FAS have struggled slightly to begin the 2014 Apertura. The club has a 1-1-2 record and five points from four matches. They are coming off a 0-0 draw against “El Classico” rivals C.D. Águila on Saturday, August 23. The Apertura season began on August 5 and, including the two matches with Montreal, FAS has played six matches in three weeks.
Through four league games, Los Tigres have scored just two goals – both by 24-year-old defenders Xavier Garcia and Alexander Mendoza.
The two clubs play again in Santa Ana on September 24.
C.D. FAS players to watch:
Although he hasn’t appeared yet this month, 36-year-old Argentinean number nine Alejandro de la Cruz Bentos has the club’s third-most goals scored all-time with 101 in over 400 appearances. In the Champions League, Bentos has made 10 appearances and tallied three goals and two assists.
Jonathan Águila is a 23-year-old forward who has played a large role in the club returning to the Champions League. During the 2012 Apertura season, while on loan from C.D. Águila, he scored six goals and another five the following half-season Clausura. All told, he scored 13 goals over 37 appearances during his loan spell and it earned him a permanent move before the 2014 season began. C.D. FAS topped the 2014 Clausura half-season table with the help of Águila’s four strikes. His exploits of the past two seasons earned him two 2014 World Cup qualifying appearances, including one start. So far this season, the forward has appeared in all four matches in the league and in both matches against Montreal but has yet to find the back of the net.
C.D. FAS history in the Champions League
Los Tigres won the 1979 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, the predecessor to today’s Champions League. Since the creation of the new format, FAS have participated twice (2010-11 and 2012-13) with a combined 1-7-2 record. All-time, their record is 2-9-3 with 10 goals scored and 31 conceded. Away from home, they are just 1-0-6 with three goals scored and 19 conceded.
History between the two clubs
New York and FAS have actually played each other once: a friendly at the Michel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. in 2001. Then known as the MetroStars, New York defeated the El Salvadorans, 2-1, with goals from Martin Klinger and Adolfo Valencia.