Soccer  > General Soccer  > Group A supremacy in play as CCL restarts
September 13, 2010, 05:31 PM
It's a whole new season in Group A of the CONCACAF Champions League, just with less games to go.

Arabe Unido, Cruz Azul, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC are all even in the standings at a win and loss apiece with play resuming Wednesday after a two-week break.

Momentum is important and with three teams surging and one struggling, this week could set the tone for the group the rest of the way.

On Wednesday, Panama's Arabe Unido hosts Mexico's Cruz Azul, while Real Salt Lake hosts Canada's Toronto FC.

Following a slow start to the MLS season, defending champion Real Salt Lake is gaining momentum in advance of its encounter against Toronto FC.

RSL played CCL participant Seattle Sounders to a scoreless draw last Saturday, despite several missing starters including goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola.

The result moved them within three points of the Los Angeles Galaxy for the top spot in MLS.

How hot is RSL? The shutout is Salt Lake's 12th of the season and extends their current streak to 442 minutes. They'll attempt to set a new league home unbeaten record against the Chicago Fire this Saturday.

That doesn't bode well for Toronto, which is carrying a streak of its own that's taking them right out of the MLS playoff picture.

With its 1-0 loss at home on Saturday to league-worst D.C. United, the Reds are winless in their past six league games. They haven't scored in four consecutive matches and have scored just once in their past six MLS competitions. That includes a scoreless draw on Aug 28 at home to Real Salt Lake in league action.

The demoralizing result caused Toronto coach Preki to rhyme off a littany of excuses including CCL play, which he blamed for crowding the schedule, and league officials and media for not shifting match start times.

Sitting four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, Toronto is looking to Wednesday's game to turn its fortunes around.

Arabe Unido and Cruz Azul are just fine heading into their match with both teams at the top of the standings.

After a strong start, Cruz Azul is showing no signs of letting up after jumping out to a 6-1 record and holding a comfortable lead atop its group in the 2010 Apertura. Their go-to guys have performed with Javier Orozco, Christian Gimenez and Emanuel Villa accounting for 13 of the squad's 18 goals.

That offense was on display in their 5-4 win over RSL in their last CCL encounter. The trio will be a handful for Arabe Unido, which are off to a strong start tied for first with Chorilla in the Panamanian Clausaura standings.

However, goals have been harder to come by with just 10 in seven domestic league games, so the key to stopping Cruz Azul may be in slowing down the big trio and relying on counterattacks.

With four games remaining, the winners have the chance to make a strong move in the race for the top two spots.


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