TFC: Champions Cup Countdown

Date Published: 
Soccer America

WITH THE START OF THE 2000 FC Champions Cup just a week away, the Mexican and Central American club are still in the midst of league seasons, while the U.S. and Caribbean clubs are engaged in preparation matches with no home season to occupy attentions. D.C. United has headed to southern California early, where it and MLS counterpart Los Angeles Galaxy are involved in preparation matches for the tournament. United defeated the U.S. Under-20 National Team 1-0 on Jan. 7, Carey Talley scoring the only goal of the match. D.C. travels to Tijuana, Mexico, to face Nacional de Tijuana -- a Mexican Division 1A team the Galaxy defeated 2-1 on Jan. 7. The two Mexican clubs -- Toluca and Pachuca -- faced off in the first match of the season. Unfortunately for host Toluca, Pablo Hernan Gomez scored three goals as Pachuca defeated the Invierno runner-up, 5-3. Cesareo Victorino and new Colombian signing Andres Chitiva also scored for Pachuca, while Jose Saturnino Cardozo netted a pair of goals and Uzziel Lozano his first in the Mexican First Division. In Honduras, Olimpia maintained its lead atop the First Division despite a 2-2 draw tie ninth-place Deportes Savio. Real Espana saw its chances dwindle for home-field advantage in the upcoming Liguilla after a 2-1 loss to Platense at home. With one round left in the Torneo Apertura, Olimpia leads by 10 points and is assured the top spot. Real Espana is fourth on 24 points but with a match in hand. The Aurinegros play Deportes Savio on Jan. 10, with both Honduran clubs then completing their Apertura calendar over the weekend before the Champions Cup. In Costa Rica, Alajuela returns from an extended holiday break --lengthened by the World Cup qualifying playoff -- with a pair of matches this week to finish off the Apertura. The Rojinegros play host to Cartago Jan. 10 and Osa on Jan. 13, having already clinched the Apertura title. Caribbean champion Joe Public has named Yugoslav Zoran Vranes to coach the T&T club in Los Angeles. Vranes, who coached Joe Public in 1988, replaces Clayton Morris. Morris is the Trinidad & Tobago national team assistant coach.