FC Motagua, Club Tijuana set to face off at H-E-B

FC Motagua and Club Tijuana will face off in the first leg of their round of 16 matchup in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League tournament at 9 p.m. tonight at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.

Motagua is ranked second in Honduras’ Liga Nacional, and the Aguilas earned their berth into the tournament by winning the league during the previous season. Motagua is based in Tegucigalpa.

Tijuana stands in seventh place in Liga MX’s Clausura season. The Xolos earned their berth based on their performance over the past four seasons. Liga MX qualifies four teams into the tournament.

The Champions League is a yearly tournament that begins with 16 teams, all from CONCACAF member associations such as Liga MX or Liga Nacional. Each round consists of a home and away tilt for each team, with each match known as a leg. The team with the higher combined goals total across both legs advances. In the event of a tie, away goals serve as the tiebreaker.

The tournament is also a qualifier for the FIFA Club World Cup.

Tijuana’s most notable player is Pablo Aguilar, who has played for his native Paraguay 28 times in international competition. He had his longest club tenure with Liga MX powerhouse Club America, making 133 appearances across all competitions. This season, Tijuana’s leading scorers are Mateus Goncalvez and Juan Martin Lucero, who each have two goals in 134 and 647 minutes, respectively.

Through eight Liga MX matches this season, Tijuana (3-3-2) has scored seven goals and allowed three.

Motagua boasts Liga Nacional’s leading scorer from last season — Roman Rubilio Castillo Alvarez, with 18 tallies. This season, he ranks fourth with nine goals. Erick Salvador and Andino Portillo are tied for second on the team with seven each.

Both managers are from Argentina. Tijuana manager Diego Cocca played from 1990-2006, while Motagua boss Diego Vasquez started his career in 1987 and retired in 2011.

The two coaches played together for two years, 1990-91, with River Plate — Argentina’s winningest club.