Monday 09 March 2020, 16:42

Field narrows to eight on road to Qatar 2020

  • Concacaf Champions League quarter-finals begin this week

  • Four MLS sides, three Liga MX clubs and one from Honduras are still in the hunt

  • previews each tie

Eight clubs are still in contention to lift the 2020 Concacaf Champions League trophy and win the right to represent the confederation at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™ at the end of the year.

There are teams with pedigree in the tournament remaining as well as a few new ones looking to make history. previews each tie, so you know what to watch out for as the week progresses.

Montreal Impact v Olimpia (Leg 1: 10 March, Leg 2: 17 March)

Finalists in 2015 Montreal are looking to return to the decider with Thierry Henry at the helm. The most decorated club in Honduras' history stands in their way in the shape of Olimpia. Consisting of mostly domestic-based players, head coach Pedro Troglio's side will be considered underdogs but they will be no pushovers, as they proved by defeating 2019 MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders 4-2 on penalties in Seattle after the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

Montreal will be boosted by the signing of designated player Victor Wanyama from Tottenham Hotspur. The Kenyan defensive midfielder stated his ambitions during his introductory press conference: "I bring passion. I love the game. I love helping my team-mates. I bring fight. I'm willing to do everything to get the win. On the pitch, I demand a lot because I love to win."

New York City FC v Tigres (Leg 1: 11 March, Leg 2: 17 March)

Due to some logistical and scheduling challenges, New York City are playing their home matches at their rival's home base, Red Bull Arena. They didn't let that unfamiliarity get in their way in the Round of 16 as they brushed past San Carlos 6-3 on aggregate. NYCFC are still figuring out their identity under new coach Ronny Deila and will face their biggest test of the season when Tigres visit.

Buoyed by goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman's stoppage time heroics in their win over Alianza, three-time finalists Tigres will be fully motivated and desperate to go one step further than last season and finally lift the trophy. The Liga MX outfit are led from the front by the lethal Frenchman Andre-Pierre Gignac, who recently scored a hat-trick against Pumas in the league.

Club America v Atlanta United (Leg 1: 11 March, Leg 2: 18 March)

Club America are one of the most successful teams in the competition's history and have their sights set on adding another continental crown. 2018 MLS Cup champions and 2019 US Open Cup winners Atlanta United will be without star player Josef Martinez most likely for the entire 2020 season, after the Venezuelan forward suffered a torn ACL in their opening league match.

Head coach Frank de Boer will be looking to his Argentinian midfield duo of Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez to lead the team and create scoring chances for the towering Adam Jahn. Club America were made to sweat in the Round of 16, scraping by Comunicaciones 5-3 on penalties, so time will tell if that was the wake-up call that Miguel Herrera's charges needed.

Los Angeles FC v Cruz Azul (Leg 1: 12 March, Leg 2: 18 March)

In what is perhaps the most anticipated quarter-final duel, Bob Bradley's LAFC take on Robert Siboldi's Cruz Azul, who sit top of the Liga MX table as of writing. Los Angeles will rely on their electric home support to give them the boost they will need to get past the formidable Mexican giants.

In the last round, LA came from behind in remarkable fashion to topple Club Leon - proof that a rowdy home crowd can go a long way in deciding a team's destiny. There will be goals as Cruz Azul have the in-form Jonathan Rodriguez to rely on and LA have last season's MLS top scorer Carlos Vela at their disposal.

Did you know?

No team from Concacaf has ever made it through to the final of a FIFA Club World Cup. Will 2020 be the first year?