By DAN KARELL
The quest for Major League Soccer’s first CONCACAF Champions League title won’t be an easy one, and after Monday’s release of the 2013/2014 Champions League group stage schedules, it is that much more clear just how tough that quest will be.
At first glance, the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City will have the toughest road to the knockout rounds, as both teams start with two road matches before returning with two home legs. The Earthquakes, in Group 5, visit the Montreal Impact on August 7 before traveling to CD Heredia in Guatamala on August 28. The latter game is wedged in the middle of a week where the Earthquakes face FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy.
The veteran Galaxy side open their Champions League campaign with two games at home before hitting the road, but their toughest stretch will be matches at home against Isidro Metapan and a visit to Cartagines in Costa Rica, with the Galaxy being forced to play five times in 15 days.
Here’s a closer look at each MLS team’s CCL Group Stage schedule.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY (Group 2)
Aug. 7th- at Real Esteli (10pm)
Aug. 27th- at CD Olimpia (10pm)
Sept. 17th- vs. Real Esteli
Oct. 23rd- vs. CD Olimpia
HOUSTON DYNAMO (Group 1)
Aug. 20th- at W Connection (8pm)
Aug. 27th- vs. Arabe Unido (8pm)
Sept. 25th- vs. W Connection (8pm)
Oct. 24th- at Arabe Unido (8pm)
MONTREAL IMPACT (Group 5)
Aug. 7th- vs. San Jose Earthquakes (8pm)
Aug. 21st- at CD Heredia (10pm)
Sept. 17th- at San Jose Earthquakes (10pm)
Sept. 25th- vs. CD Heredia (8pm)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (Group 5)
Aug. 7th- at Montreal Impact (8pm)
Aug. 28th- at CD Heredia (10pm)
Sept. 17th- vs. Montreal Impact (10pm)
Oct. 23rd- vs. CD Heredia (10pm)
LOS ANGELES GALAXY (Group 8)
Aug. 20th- vs. Cartagines (10pm)
Sept. 18th- vs. Isidro Metapan (10pm)
Sept. 25th- at Cartagines (10pm)
Oct. 24th- at Isidro Metapan (10pm)
What do you think of the schedule? Who do you see having the toughest road to the knockout round?
Share your thoughts below.