2/18/19 Champions League Tues/Wed, Help Indy 11 Park, MLS in CCL, Full TV Game Schedule

Swamped at Work so not much time this week.  Champions League is off to an interesting start as my Dortmund with US Youngster Pulisic starting was in the game until the 80th minute mark.  That’s when Tottenham scored again on a set play and added 1 more to give them a commanding 3-0 victory at home.  Disappointing as Dortmund with injuries to Rues, and both center backs managed to break down again.  That’s the 2nd straight game my band of yellow has given up 3 goals 2 of them in the last 15 minutes.  Good to see Pulisic get the start and go 80 minutes as he had several good runs and a shot that almost scored in the first 15 minutes.  Of course Real Madrid was the first test of VAR – and of course VAR ruled in the Defending Champs favor on an offside goal by Ajax.  It was the right call however – and the Galaticos take a 2-1 lead back to the Bernabéu for the 2nd leg in early March.

Great games this week as EPL League leaders and 2nd place finishers last year Liverpool host Bayern Munich Tuesday on TNT and Juventus and Ronaldo travel to Atletico Madrid on Wed 2:45 pm on TNT.  Schalke and US star McKinney will host Man City Wed at 2:45 pm on BR Live and Univision Desportes.  Lyonnais will of course host Barcelona and Messi Tues on BR Live and Univision Desportes.  Tons of stories below on Champions League!

Tues, Feb 19 

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich 

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona 

Wed, Feb 20 

3 pm  BR Live/Uni Des   Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City

3 pm  TNT                    Athletico Madrid vs Juventus 

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League is set to kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and you can watch live streams with Yahoo Sports.The matches will be available through the Yahoo Sports app on Google Play, as well as on desktop at Yahoo Soccer’s home page. The 11th edition of the CCL, will include 16 teams from across North and Central America and the Caribbean, including reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United, Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres UANL, Liga MX Clausura champion Santos Laguna, and other marquee clubs like CF Monterrey, New York Red Bulls, Sporting KC and Toronto FC. Fans will get to see big names from both the United States and Mexican national teams in action, including Jozy Altidore, Hugo Ayala, Michael Bradley and Miguel Layun, as well as 2018 MLS MVP Josef Martinez for Atlanta United.

CCL Champions League – MLS & Mexico and others

Tues,  Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.    Yahoo Sports Online    Toronto FC At Independiente (Panama),

Tues Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports — Houston Dynamo At Guastatoya (Guatemala),

Wed Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports NY Red Bulls At Atletico Pantoja (Dom Rep),

Thurs Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. ET    Yahoo Sports        Sporting KC  Vs. Toluca (Mexico),

Thurs Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET    Yahoo Sports    Atlanta United at Herediano (costa Rica)

Tues Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET    Yahoo Sports —     Houston Dynamo hosts  Guastatoya

Tues Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.  yahoo sports                    Toronto  FC  Vs. Independiente,

Wed Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports –           NY Red Bulls at Atletico Pantoja

Thurs Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports         Sporting KC At Toluca

Indy 11 Needs our Help 

Please show your support for Professional Soccer in Indiana by contacting your legislator TODAY!  Please visit www.eleven-park.com and help us with this important effort.We are asking you to send your state legislators a message thru the website www.eleven-park.com to ask your legislative leaders to strongly support Senate Bill 543.The bill will allow the construction of Eleven Park, a new transformational neighborhood development in Indianapolis that would include apartments, office space, retail and a hotel – all anchored by a new, world-class multi-purpose soccer stadium.The Eleven Park proposal creates NO new taxes and does not call for any existing money from city or state governments.  Eleven Park is a win for Indy Eleven, a win for Indianapolis, and a win for Indiana, a state that is full of soccer players and fans.  It is time to fully capture a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of soccer in Indiana.  Please join us in supporting Senate Bill 543.   www.eleven-park.com

Champions League

Bayern Braced for Klopp Reunion at Liverpool & Champ League Predictions

German Giants Represent Everything Klopp isn’t in Champions League Clash

Liverpool Mustn’t Look Ahead to United Clash as Bayern Comes to Town

Robben picks Anfield as his ‘worst stadium’

PSG’s Neymar targeting UCL quarterfinal return

Are we heading for a generation without elite scorers?

Dortmund made to pay for inexperience by ruthless Spurs

Pulisic blames Dortmund ‘mentality’ for loss

Spurs ‘mean business’ after huge win – Winks

Vertonghen a perfect 10 as Spurs brush aside Dortmund

Ramos could face extra ban for deliberate yellow

Real Madrid suffered then hit Ajax back – Solari

‘Stop selling fear’ – how PSG’s calmness overcame United

PSG’s Di Maria: I expected Man Utd fans’ abuse

Solskjaer has much to prove after being outsmarted by Tuchel

Verratti 9/10, Di Maria 8/10 as PSG seize first leg vs. Utd

Zaniolo’s brace clinches Roma win over Porto

CONCACAF Champions League kicks off on Yahoo sports – Can MLS win?

WORLD

Joint Celebration shows growing Rapport of Ronaldo and Dybala

FA Cup Round-Up

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be Named United Boss says Giggs

Klopp needs to think smart, focus on the Premier League

Indy 11

Help Soccer in Indy today –  www.eleven-park.com

Indy 11 Announces Ownership Group of from Around Indiana

Full Schedule Released

Indy 11 Signs USL Leading Scorer Thomas Enevoldsen

Indy 11 Signs USL Championship All time Leading Scorer DC United’s Dane Kelly

Flex 8 Pack Ticket is Back

Season Tickets Just over $100

GAMES ON TV

Mon, Feb 18  

2:30 pm ESPN+           Chelsea vs Man United FA Cup

Tues, Feb 19  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm TNT                    Liverpool vs Bayern Munich

3 pm Uni Desportes      Lyonnais vs Barcelona

8 p.m.    Yahoo Sports Online    Toronto FC At Independiente (Panama),

10 p.m. ET  Yahoo Sports — Houston Dynamo At Guastatoya (Guatemala),

Wed, Feb 20  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm  BR Live/Uni Des  Schalke (McKinney) vs Man City

3 pm  TNT                     Athletico Madrid vs Juventus 

8 p.m. ET   Yahoo Sports NY Red Bulls At Atletico Pantoja (Dom Rep),

Sun, Feb 24  

9 am NBCSN              Man United vs Liverpool

9:30 am FS1                  Hannover vs Frankfurt

10:15 am beIN sport    Athletico Madrid vs Villarreal

11:30 am ESPN+         Chelsea vs Manchester City – League Cup

12 noon FS2                 Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayer Leverkusen

2:45 pm beIn Sport      Levante vs Real Madrid

Mon, Feb 25  

2:30 pm FS2                 RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Hoffenheim

Wed, Feb 27  

2:45 pm NBCSN        Chelsea vs Tottenham

3 pm  beIN Sport                     Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Copa Del Rey El Classico’   

7 pm Fox Sport 1                     USA Ladies vs Japan  – She Believes Cup

Sat, Mar 2

7:30 am NBCSN                     Tottenham vs Arsenal

9;30 am FS2                            Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

10 am NBCSN                        Man United vs Southampton

12:30 pm NBCSN                  West Ham vs New Castle United (Yedlin)

12:30 pm FS2                         Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson) vs Bayern Munchen

2:45 pm beIN Sport            Real Madrid vs Barcelona El Classico

4 pm Fox                             USA Ladies vs England – She Believes Cup

8 pm Fox Sports 1                  La Galaxy vs Chicago Fire  MLS

10 pm Fox Sports 1               Seattle Sounders vs FC Cincy MLS

Sun, Mar 3

7:30 am NBCSN                     Watford vs Leicester City

9 am FS2                 Schalke (McKinney) vs Dusseldorf

9 am NBCSN                          Fulham (Ream) vs Chelsea

11:15 am NBCSN                                 Everton vs Liverpool 

12:30 pm FS2                         Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen (Stewart)

2:30 pm ESPN+                      Napoli vs Juve

6 pm Fox Sports 1                 DC United (Rooney) vs Atlanta United (Martinez) MLS

8:30 pm ESPN                       Los Angeles FC vs Sporting KC 

TuesMar 5                             Champions League

3 pm TNT                              Ajax 1 vs Real Madrid 2 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live/Uni Desp       Dortmund (Pulisic) 1 vs Tottenham 3 

7 pm Fox Sports 1               USA Ladies vs Brazil – She Believes Cup

Weds, Mar 6  

3 pm TNT                               PSG vs Man United  CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

3 pm BR Live                        FC Porto vs AS Roma

Fri, March 8  

2:30 pm FS2                          Werder Breman (Stewart) vs Schalke (McKinney) 

10 pm ESPN+                          USL Seattle Sounders 2 vs Rio Grande Valley

Bayern braced for Klopp reunion at Liverpool

CIARAN FAHEY  Associated Press  Feb 17, 2019, 7:48 PM

MoreBERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich knows all too well how tough an opponent Juergen Klopp can be.Now in his fourth season at Anfield, the former Borussia Dortmund coach is facing Bayern for the first time while leading Liverpool.Bayern visits Liverpool for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 game on Tuesday, mindful that it didn’t always come out on top against Klopp during his time at Dortmund.While Bayern defeated Klopp’s Dortmund side in the 2013 Champions League final, Klopp had the upper hand in the 2012 German Cup final, which Dortmund won 5-2. Klopp also led Dortmund to successive league titles at Bayern’s expense in 2011 and 2012.Personally I like Juergen Klopp a lot,” said Bayern president Uli Hoeness, who revealed that he almost signed Klopp to take over before the club decided on Jurgen Klinsmann in 2008.Also Tuesday, Lyon hosts Barcelona.On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid welcomes Juventus, and Schalke hosts Manchester City.Liverpool has not lost a European match at Anfield since the 3-0 group stage defeat to Real Madrid in 2014 and Bayern has questions over its defense ahead of its trip.The Bavarian powerhouse conceded twice to relegation-threatened Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday, when Leon Goretzka scored an own-goal after just 13 seconds – the quickest own-goal in 56 years of the league. Bayern won 3-2.”We’ll have to deliver a whole other performance on the day, especially in defense,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac said, warning of the danger posed by “the three up front,” referring to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.Liverpool also had the luxury of a week without a game before Bayern’s visit, due to its early FA Cup exit. The team spent four days at a training camp in Marbella, Spain.

“Our little preparation for the rest of the season,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said.Bayern winger Kingsley Coman is an option for Kovac after fears of an injury sustained in Augsburg proved unfounded. Coman scored twice, set up David Alaba’s winner and struck the crossbar in Augsburg, while he also underlined his growing importance to the side with the winning goal against Hertha Berlin in the German Cup.Liverpool will have to cope without central defender Virgil van Dijk as he serves a UEFA suspension for the first leg. Klopp faces the prospect of having to deploy midfielder Fabinho alongside Joel Matip with Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren both injured.While Liverpool is accustomed to deep runs in Europe – winning the Champions League in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007 and last season – the club has not won the English league since 1990.Although a chance to pull away from Manchester City at the top of the Premier League was squandered with two recent draws, Liverpool is still only behind City on goal difference and has a game in hand.Here’s a look at the other Champions League games this week:

LYON VS. BARCELONA

Barcelona is back in good spirits after ending a three-game winless streak and extending its comfortable lead in the Spanish league at the weekend.But it heads into the game against Lyon showing signs it still hasn’t recovered its best form despite having a whole week to prepare before a hard-fought 1-0 home win against Valladolid in the league on Saturday.Lionel Messi and most of his teammates struggled, and the team looked off both in attack and in defense.Arthur’s absence in midfield has become a problem for coach Ernesto Valverde, as the young Brazilian was the main player controlling the team’s pace. Arthur needs a few more weeks to recover from a hamstring injury.The game could go a long way to deciding Lyon coach Bruno Genesio’s chances of keeping his job.Although Genesio guided Lyon to the last 16 without losing a group game, long-serving club president Jean-Michel Aulas has yet to say whether Genesio will stay on next season.Genesio will have to find a way to beat Barca without Nabil Fekir, the main provider and scorer in Lyon’s attack, who is suspended.With Fekir absent, Netherlands forward Memphis Depay has the chance to put in the kind of performance to help him fulfill his wish of joining a bigger club next season.

ATLETICO MADRID VS. JUVENTUS

Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Madrid with his Juventus side hitting its stride at just the right time and Atletico should be worried – the former Real Madrid forward has scored 22 goals in 31 matches against Atletico.The Bianconeri are on a seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive league title in Italy and could be forgiven for relaxing slightly.While the 3-0 defeat at Atalanta in the Italian Cup ended its chances of a treble, followed by a 3-3 draw against Parma, it appears to have been just a blip with Juve then beating Sassuolo and Frosinone, 3-0 each time.”Yes, we are in a good condition,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Apart from the setback against Parma we are doing well, and we are at a particularly important moment.”Ronaldo scored again against Frosinone on Friday to take his tally to 19 in Serie A. He also showed as good an understanding with Paulo Dybala as he has had with Mario Mandzukic, who joined Juventus from Atletico in 2015.Allegri was able to rest several players for Friday’s match while also giving a run to key defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, back from injury.Atletico has not looked convincing in the Spanish league, scraping a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after two defeats.

SCHALKE VS. MANCHESTER CITY

Man City was given a kind draw against a Schalke side clearly struggling in its second season under coach Domenico Tedesco.Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home against Freiburg was indicative of the Gelsenkirchen-based team’s season to date – an unattractive game of few chances with midfielder Suat Serdar sent off before the break for a studs-up challenge.Schalke has won only six of its 22 league games so far and languishes in 14th place in the 18-team standings. It could yet be drawn into a relegation fight before the season is out.The contrast could hardly be greater.City, in its Premier League title defense, is ahead of Liverpool at the top on goal difference.Coach Pep Guardiola had the luxury of resting some leading players on Saturday for the FA Cup win over fourth-tier side Newport. Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva were not summoned from the bench and Sergio Aguero had the afternoon off entirely.The team was back in training on Sunday ahead of the trip to Germany.A European trophy has eluded City since the Abu Dhabi takeover 11 years ago, with the semifinals the furthest the team has progressed in the Champions League.

Liverpool vs Bayern: German giants represent everything Jurgen Klopp isn’t in Champions League clash

Simon Hughes  The IndependentFeb 18, 2019, 2:26 AM

It was the small hours in Kiev and though he had lost the Champions League final to Real MadridJurgen Klopp

was wearing his cap back to front and singing along with a man in a Liverpool shirt whose nickname might make you think first of cabaret.Andreas Frege – or Campino as he is known – was born in Dusseldorf but his mother was English. He had fallen in love with the club Klopp now managed after Borussia Monchengladbach were beaten in the Uefa Cup final of 1973. Football was Campino’s passion but his talent was in music and Klopp became a fan of his group, Die Toten Hosen – translated directly as ‘The Dead Pants.’Campino believed in punk rather than floorshows. His band did not exist solely to promote causes but were prepared go that way. Though not associated with any political party, The Dead Pants have made stands against xenophobia and racism, they supported Greenpeace in a campaign to end nuclear testing and had once posed without clothes in the name of animal rights group, PETA.Amongst their later initiatives related to Bayern Munich’s domination of German football, releasing a song in 2000 spiked with antipathy. In ‘Bayern’, Campino would yell: “Many things can happen/Many things can come to pass/One thing I know for sure. Never in my life would I go to Bayern! (Never go to the f**king Bayern!).”A reaction was projected and a rebuke, perhaps, intercepted because in the closing stages of that video, a portly figure in club blazer loomed into view. It was supposed to be Uli Hoeness – the president of Bayern – who looked into a television screen, and after hearing the lyrics muttered instantly to himself: “This is the kind of filth that will choke our society at some point.”It has been said that Bavaria has the wealth of Hertfordshire and the attitude of Yorkshire. It annoys those outside the region that it seems to consider itself as a moral base, where intentions, standards and achievements cannot be seriously questioned, certainly not without a ferocious response.Klopp, of course, faces the institution he went up against when he was coach of Borussia Dortmund for the first time in a competitive match since taking over at Anfield, not just on just sporting terms but on a spiritual level as well. While it is assumed outside Germany that Klopp will eventually find his way to Munich as a coach, see who he associates with and understand his history by listening to those that know him well and it appears less likely, though not impossible.The story about Klopp being considered by Bayern eleven years ago is well known. It was Hoeness, in fact, who wanted Klopp the most, telling the other board members: “I’ve got a good feeling about this guy.” It was Hoeness too who called Klopp first, a manager who in his seven seasons at Mainz had achieved promotion and European football as well as relegation. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s chairman, feared that at 40 years old, he was not experienced or high-profile enough. Instead, Bayern went for Jurgen Klinsmann – a national hero and a Bayern legend – who was sacked nine months later, with Philipp Lahm revealing that players felt unsure what to do under Klinsmann and often met to discuss tactical strategy because so little information was forthcoming from their coach.In Raphael Honigstein’s book, Bring the Noise, it was Hoeness who called Klopp again, two days after their initial conversation with the news, “We’ve gone for the other Jurgen.” Klopp, according to Mainz’s sporting director Christian Heidel, “was a little hurt” by the suggestion that Klinsmann was similar to him when Klopp was clearly the more experienced club coach and later that day, the local reporter in the town could remember him taking training in a bad mood. That the approach became public knowledge through Hoeness was a good thing for Klopp, however, because everyone now knew how highly he was regarded.Hoeness admitted, “We signed the wrong Jurgen,” when three years later Klopp led Dortmund to the first of successive Bundesliga titles. In 2011, Bayern finished third – ten points behind, though perhaps the bigger achievement was the defence of their title twelve months on when a more competitive Bayern came back at them but still finished eight adrift.The atmosphere between Klopp and Bayern changed when Bayern signed some of Dortmund’s best players and wrestled back the initiative. Klopp would then compare them to a James Bond villain hell-bent on global domination, saying they were “like the Chinese – they see what other people are doing and copy it – just with more money,” he said after losing the German Cup final to Bayern in 2013.

This argument was engulfed two years later when Matthias Sammer – a former Dortmund player and manager and now in his position of technical director at Bayern, indicated that he believed other clubs were not working hard enough to compete with his new employer. Klopp pounced: “If I were him, I’d thank God that someone had the idea of hiring me every time I walk into the Bayern training ground,” he fired back. “I don’t know if Bayern would have got one less point without Sammer.”When asked to recall the period, Jorg Jakub, the editor of Kicker magazine, described Klopp as being “like a new boxer in the ring, though he was not just about words – he’d already backed it up.”Few managers, presidents and certainly players had the courage to criticise Bayern publically with such provocation before, knowing what follows whenever this happens: with Bayern hitting back ten times harder.An example of this only came last week when Dietmar Hamann told Sky TV in Germany that Robert Lewandowski had lost his edge. The striker’s agent was the first to respond with Maik Barthel questioning Hamann’s “tactical understanding”, before Lewandowski called Hamann’s comments “flat-out stupid.” It was only after he scored in a 3-1 victory over Schalke that Hasan Salihamidzic weighed in to the debate, with the club’s latest sporting director claiming Hamann was waging a campaign against the player, describing the former Liverpool midfielder as “a problem” for the television company.In 2014, Lewandowksi became one of the players Klopp lost to Bayern, though it was the transfer of Mario Gotze that hurt him the most. “It was not just the manner, it was the mere fact it could actually happen,” one source told the Independent, who spoke about Klopp’s reaction to the news, comparing it to the unexpected death of a young family member. “Klopp thought Bayern’s tentacles stretched far but not that far.”In Building the Yellow Wall, Uli Hesse remembered the press conference ahead of Dortmund’s match with Mainz in 2013 when Klopp knew Gotze was going to leave but nobody else in the room did. It was one of the occasions Klopp showed restraint. Bayern’s timing had been devastating and it had the potential to undo much of Klopp’s fine work in the last weeks of a season where they would reach the club’s first Champions League final in sixteen years.When Klopp was asked what he thought about Hoeness’ suggestion that the Bundesliga was in danger of creating “Spanish conditions” as Bayern and Dortmund were seemingly capable of pulling away from the rest of the competition in the same way as Barcelona and Real Madrid, Klopp could have fired up discussion but instead, he spoke about his fears for “Scottish conditions” where Celtic – following the demise of Rangers – had been able to become so much better than everyone else, hoovering up all of the talent and reducing the level of threat from elsewhere.“I think that when the new Bayern squad is announced in the summer, we will find what Hoeness has said isn’t altogether supported by the team that has been assembled,” Klopp responded, with reporters believing he was referring to Bayern’s recruitment of Pep Guardiola as coach. By then, it was well known that they also wanted to sign Lewandowski. Though that would happen twelve months later, Klopp was, in fact, referring to Gotze’s decision to leave him, a twenty-year-old who’d been with Dortmund since he was nine: someone he’d given a professional debut at seventeen. Above everything – and Klopp told Gotze this – he believed he was making a mistake by joining Bayern and Guardiola, and this was proven to be right.“Klopp could only drop vague hints during the Mainz press conference,” Hesse wrote. “With the Real Madrid game coming up [in the Champions League semi-final], he couldn’t afford to break the stunning news and cause a commotion. So, it was somebody else who did it.”Nobody is quite sure who leaked the story about Gotze’s departure – triggered by a clause in his contract – but it surely could not have been anyone with a healthy interest in Dortmund because it landed in the tabloid Bild less than 24 hours before the first leg with Real. “They tried to destroy us,” Hans-Joachim Watzke, Dortmund’s CEO, claimed of the club they would lose to in the European showdown that followed at Wembley a month later.Klopp still thinks Franck Ribery should have been sent off in that final when the score was deadlocked at 1-1. He was also furious (understandably) when a headed goal which should have stood against Bayern in another German Cup final was ruled out.Since moving to England it is said Bayern have faded from Klopp’s thoughts simply because they are not the competition any more. “The rivalry for him now is Everton, Manchester United and City,” was the message last week. The feeling was, when Klopp eventually leaves Liverpool, he’d sooner manage the German national team. “Jurgen is a strong character and he likes working around other strong characters,” said another source. “Where he draws the line is interference and at Bayern, maybe there is a bit too much of that.”

How to watch the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with Yahoo Sports

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League kicks off this week right here at Yahoo Sports, the official English-language broadcaster of the region’s top club competition.For the five MLS teams involved in the tournament, the goal is clear: to break Mexico’s stranglehold on the silverware and become the first squad from the top league in the United States and Canada to hoist the trophy. No MLS team has won the competition since it switched to its current format over a decade ago. In fact, only two MLS teams have ever reached the summit in North and Central America and the Caribbean: D.C. United in 1998, and the LA Galaxy three years later.  Meantime, Liga MX teams have won all 10 Champions League titles. Just three of those victories came against MLS teams, no surprise considering how much deeper Mexican sides are than their salary-capped counterparts from north of the border. When Club America beat the Montreal Impact in 2015, it did so with a payroll that was 10 times higher than the MLS side.  Still, there is evidence that American and Canadian entries are getting closer. Real Salt Lake narrowly lost to Pachuca in 2011, and in 2018 Toronto beat America and Tigres in consecutive knockout stage home-and-home series before falling to C.D. Guadalajara on penalty kicks.Could this be the year that an MLS team finally wins the title (and clinches the FIFA Club World Cup berth that comes with it?) Here’s how the league’s five reps stack up.

Atlanta United 

Why they can win it:

Barely two months removed from winning MLS Cup, the Five Stripes were arguably the best team in league history last season. Sure, they lost coach Tata Martino (to Mexico’s national team), playmaker Miguel Almiron (Newcastle United) and experienced left back Greg Garza (expansion Cincinnati FC) this winter. But Atlanta added the reigning South American player of the year in 25-year-old Argentine national teamer Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, and also re-upped Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez, whose 31 regular season goals in 2018 set a league record.

Why they can’t:

The club’s new manager, Dutchman Frank de Boer, has never coached outside Europe and therefore can’t possibly be prepared for the unique challenges playing on the road in Latin America: bumpy fields, difficult travel, constant gamesmanship on and off the pitch. Scheduling conflicts will force Atlanta, which averaged an MLS-record 53,000-plus fans last season, to play its Feb. 28 match versus Costa Rica’s Herediano at a 10,000-seat venue in suburban Kennesaw instead of downtown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And while the Martinez-Martinez combination looks great on paper, it might take time for the sort of telepathic understanding that Almiron and Josef Martinez enjoyed to develop.

Round of 16 matchup (winner decided by aggregate goals):

At Herediano (Costa Rica), Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET
Vs. Herediano, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. ET

Houston Dynamo

Why they can win it: Funny things happen in tournament play. Guadalajara was terrible in Liga MX last season but somehow found a way to win it all. (The club didn’t even qualify for the CCL this year.) Montreal was 45 minutes away from beating mighty America in the 2015 finale, just a few months after finishing the 2014 MLS season last overall. So who cares if the Dynamo missed the playoffs last season? Tomas Martinez can pass and Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas can score. Besides, Elis’ fellow Hondurans Boniek Garcia, Maynor Figueroa and Romell Quioto, as well as four-time U.S. World Cup rep DaMarcus Beasley, give Wilmer Cabrera’s team a ton of experience in CONCACAF.

Why they can’t: Depth, or rather the lack of it. Houston had the lowest payroll of any MLS team in 2018, and it wasn’t particularly close. With one of its three designated player slots unused, there just isn’t much offense on the roster after Elis, Martinez, Monotas and Quioto. And while Beasley, Garcia and Figueroa are grizzled veterans, they’re also 36, 35 and 34 years old, respectively.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

At Guastatoya (Guatemala), Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. ET
Vs. Guastatoya, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET

New York Red Bulls

Why they can win it: The Red Bulls know the tournament inside out, having participated in it every year since 2014. After reaching the semifinals a year ago, they went on to win the MLS Supporters’ Shield as the regular season champ. And with the exception of Tyler Adams, who left this winter for the German Bundesliga, coach Chris Armas’ first-choice starting lineup returns intact.

Why they can’t: There’s no reason they can’t. Of the five MLS teams involved this year, it feels like New York might have the best chance. Then again, the departure of Adams leaves a huge hole in the midfield and in the dressing room. Star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips is also about to turn 34.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

At Atletico Pantoja (Dominican Republic), Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. ET
Vs. Atletico Pantoja, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET

Sporting Kansas City 

Why they can win it: Free-agent signing Rodney Wallace, a Costa Rican World Cup vet, adds even more CONCACAF experience to a roster full of it. (SKC has played in the CCL three times since 2014.) And with Peter Vermes at the helm, there’s no doubt that Sporting will be one of the best-drilled teams in the competition.

Why they can’t: It remains to be seen if center back mainstay Matt Besler can immediately replicate the chemistry he and the since-traded Ike Opa had with new Hungarian center back Botond Barath. And while Vermes gets more value out of his roster than any GM/technical director in MLS, the truth is that small-market Kansas City isn’t in the same financial ballpark as some of the clubs it will face.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

Vs. Toluca (Mexico), Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. ET
At Toluca, Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. ET

Toronto FC

Why they can win it: No MLS team has come closer than TFC did last year. The Reds have plenty to prove after missing the playoffs last season, and while Sebastian Giovinco is gone, you can be sure that the remaining nucleus of the roster, led by captain Michael Bradley, will be bent on making another deep run.

Why they can’t: Striker Jozy Altidore is coming off ankle surgery and can’t be expected to duplicate his scoring exploits of a year ago. And TFC isn’t scaring anyone without keychain-sized dynamo Giovinco, who looked like the best player in CONCACAF in almost single-footedly leading Toronto to the 2018 finale.

Round of 16 two-leg matchup:

At Independiente (Panama), Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.
Vs. Independiente, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League is set to kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and you can watch live English-language streams with Yahoo Sports.The matches will be available through the Yahoo Sports app on iOS

and Google Play, as well as on desktop at Yahoo Soccer’s home page. The 11th edition of the CCL, sponsored by Scotiabank, will include 16 teams from across North and Central America and the Caribbean, including reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United, Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres UANL, Liga MX Clausura champion Santos Laguna, and other marquee clubs like CF Monterrey, New York Red Bulls, Sporting KC and Toronto FC.Fans will get to see big names from both the United States and Mexican national teams in action, including Jozy Altidore, Hugo Ayala, Michael Bradley and Miguel Layun, as well as 2018 MLS Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

MVP Josef Martinez.For more information, see the CONCACAF Champions League’s official press release.

Indy 11 Needs our Help 

Please show your support for Professional Soccer in Indiana by contacting your legislator TODAY!  Please visit www.eleven-park.com and help us with this important effort.We are asking you to send your state legislators a message thru the website www.eleven-park.com to ask your legislative leaders to strongly support Senate Bill 543.The bill will allow the construction of Eleven Park, a new transformational neighborhood development in Indianapolis that would include apartments, office space, retail and a hotel – all anchored by a new, world-class multi-purpose soccer stadium.The Eleven Park proposal creates NO new taxes and does not call for any existing money from city or state governments.  Eleven Park is a win for Indy Eleven, a win for Indianapolis, and a win for Indiana, a state that is full of soccer players and fans.  It is time to fully capture a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of soccer in Indiana.  Please join us in supporting Senate Bill 543.   www.eleven-park.com

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