The quarterfinals of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League see Liga MX’s Club Tijuana take on the New York Red Bulls of MLS. It is not the most anticipated match-up of this round of CCL - that is surely Tigres vs Toronto: the battle between the reigning champions of Liga MX and MLS. Still, any Liga MX vs MLS match is a proxy for arguments about the relative quality of the two leagues and the ever-present Mexico-USA soccer rivalry.
For RBNY, however, it doesn’t matter much who the opponent is: to succeed in CCL, a team is going to have to play and beat some of the better sides from around the region.
Away goals are the first tie-breaker in the series, so the Red Bulls will hope to score at least once and bring some sort of potential advantage back to Red Bull Arena for the return leg on March 13. Xolos would surely love to make that second leg a formality by registering a big win at their home ground.
This will be a big test for a Red Bulls squad still easing its way out of preseason. Any result that isn’t a multi-goal loss can be regarded as something of a success for RBNY, though the team will doubtless have greater ambitions than simply not getting trounced in Tijuana.