The match will played in an empty Estadio Nacional in San Jose because CONCACAF isn’t keen on the idea of staging games in Honduras at the moment (due to the country’s turbulent political situation), and Olimpia - technically the home team for this match - is serving a six-match penalty for crowd trouble at its home ground in last summer’s CONCACAF League.
So Olimpia has to play away from home for two reasons, and those reasons combine to place this game behind the closed doors of the 35,000 capacity national stadium of Costa Rica.
This is the first of two games between RBNY and Olimpia must play to settle which team advances to the quarterfinals of CCL 2018. The winner will be the side with the most goals on aggregate from the two legs (RBNY hosts the second leg on March 1). If aggregate scores are tied at the end of the second leg, away goals are the first tiebreaker - so this game is the Red Bulls’ opportunity to get ahead on that score, at the very least. If the teams are level on both total goals scored and goals scored away from home after the second leg, a penalty shootout will decide the winner (i.e. no extra time will be played).
But those considerations don’t apply until March 1, when Olimpia travels to Red Bull Arena. For now, both teams are focused simply on taking an advantage with them to next week’s second leg. And they’ll do so with no one to cheer them on but their own subs benches and technical staffs.
Once A Metro has a reporter on the scene. Follow @MetroCapo on Twitter for thoughts emerging from Estadio Nacional, and check back with OaM for his more considered take on what he saw in Costa Rica.
Bold and not so bold predictions for tonight's game:— Respectable Capo (@MetroCapo) February 22, 2018
• #RBNY win 2-0 (goals from BWP & Royer)
• Felipe gets a yellow for persistent behavior
• The refs let Olimpia hack it up without calling anything
• I barely make it back to the airport for my flight home
Also, Red Bulls Radio will be broadcasting live from the match: OaM has some confidence that will be the most informed RBNY-focused commentary to be found with regard to this game.