Preview: Crew vs. Santos Laguna
2010 CONCACAF Champions League, Group B, Match Day 2
Santos Laguna (4-1, 12 points, Mexican Primera División) vs. Columbus Crew (12-5-4, 40 points, MLS) at Nuevo Estadio Corona in Torreón, Mexico.
All-time series: first meeting
10 p.m. ET; Fox Soccer Channel
Both teams are 1-0 in the six-game round robin. Santos defeated host Joe Public of Trinidad and Tobago 5-2 and Columbus downed Municipal 1-0 in Crew Stadium last week.
José María Cárdenas became the first player to score four times in a CONCACAF Champions League match in the victory over Joe Public. José Carlos Enríquez also scored for Santos, the only team to win on the road in the tournament's first round of matches.
The Warriors lost their first Primera match 1-0 to Tigres on Saturday, but have still outscored the opposition 12-2 in league play thus far. Former Mexican National Team goalkeeper Oswaldo Sánchez has started all five matches, while Ecuadoran forward Cristian Benítez has five goals in league play.
Torreón, with a population of about 1 million, is “only” 3,200 feet above sea level – a steep decline of about 4,000 feet from what the Crew experienced at Cruz Azul and Toluca in last season’s tournament.
“It’s one less thing to worry about,” Crew midfielder Adam Moffat said. “It’s always difficult going down there wherever you play.”
Leading scorer Guillermo Barros Schelotto did not travel and several more regulars are likely to be rested after coach Robert Warzycha went with the same lineup for two matches last week, with the exception of alternating goalkeepers Andy Gruenebaum and William Hesmer. Steven Lenhart returns from a one-game Champions League ban suffered in the quarterfinals vs. Toluca in March. He scored in MLS play Saturday against Colorado and will likely start Tuesday.
“We know we can play with those guys down there,” midfielder Eddie Gaven said. “We know it’s going to be hard. We feel like we have a really good team and can do well there.
“It seems like pretty much everything is against us, whether it’s the refs, it’s the fans, the calls. We have to find a way to overcome all that and not get sidetracked and go out there and play our game.”
Heroes & Villains
Andy Gruenebaum vs. Santos forwards: If the Crew youngster starts as expected, he will face more pressure than the three saves he made last week vs. Municipal.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
The Crew are 0-3 in Mexico all-time: 6-0 to Morelia in 2003, 5-0 to Cruz Azul in 2009 and 3-2 to Toluca earlier this year.