KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Sporting Kansas City opens the club's 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League campaign in Nicaragua for the second consecutive year matching up against Real Esteli FC.
Sporting KC defeated Real Esteli FC 2-0 at Estadio Independencia a year ago with goals from Ike Opara and Dom Dwyer. Dwyer is second in Major League Soccer for goals scored this season with 16, including two in Sporting KC's 4-1 victory against Toronto FC last weekend.
Joining Sporting KC and Real Esteli in Group 2 is Costa Rican side Deportiva Saprissa. Esteli hosted Saprissa earlier this month and the two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in Nicaragua.
Real Esteli has won each of the last seven Apertura (fall) and Clausura (spring) titles in the Nicaraguan Primera Division and are the only team to represent Nicaragua in the CCL. Esteli is tied for first place in the Primera Division's Apertura season with a 3-0-0 record. However, the home side is seeking their first win all-time in a CONCACAF competition. The club is 0-29-7 in CONCACAF matches since 1991 and 0-4-3 at home during that timeframe.
Since 2011, Sporting KC is one of two American teams with at least two major trophies (2012 U.S. Open Cup, 2013 MLS Cup) and the only MLS team with two conference regular season titles (2011, 2012). With 10 games remaining in the 2014 MLS regular season, Sporting KC is in first place in the Supporters' Shield standings with a 12-6-6 record and 42 points.
Sporting KC finished atop Group 2 in the 2013-14 edition of the tournament with a 2-0-2 record before falling 5-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals to reigning champions Cruz Azul.
The CONCACAF Champions League features the top club teams from across North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The winner of the tournament earns a berth in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup. The tournament started in 1962 and was originally called the CONCACAF Champions Cup before switching to the current format in 2008 (and now called the CONCACAF Champions League).
All fans are encouraged to attand Sporting KC's official watch parties on Tuesday at area Johnny's Tavern locations. Fans can also follow the match online at SportingKC.com/GameOn or via Twitter @SKCGameday.