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CCL Preview: Pumas vs Honduras Progreso

Pumas make their debut at home in a key match against Honduras Progreso

SuperLiga 2010 - New England Revolution v Pumas UNAM Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a good debut in Trinidad and Tobago, Pumas returns to action with their first game at home when they face Honduras Progreso in a key match of the CONCACAF Champions League. A win against Progreso would put Pumas in the driver seat of a group they are expected to win and qualify from. While for Progreso, it's an opportunity to show what they have in a game where they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Pumas has decided to bet on youth for the CONCACAF Champions league as they try to go back to old times when their success was based on the production of youth players. What was once the best talent producer (or among the best) of all of Mexico, has fallen at hard times and has seen it not even be in the conversation of the "who is the best". As such and because of the economic problems the team has faced, the board and coach Palencia have decided to go back to their roots and will use this competition as their testing ground. Thus, we should expect for Pumas to go with a younger squad against Progreso, with some veterans to back them up since the game is at home and Mexican teams are known to use their better players at home due to the shorter trip and to appeal to the local fans. Still, the game against Progreso is a key game and after seeing how Monterrey lost at home to Arabe Unido (mostly because of overconfidence), Pumas might have more veterans as opposed to the team that played in Trinidad.

Honduras Progreso will be making their debut in the competition and they face an uphill battle if history proves anything. Honduran teams have had a terrible history in CU. In 2009-2010, Real España lost 4-0 at CU in the group stages and in the Quarterfinals, Marathon lost 6-1 and were eliminated after having defeated Pumas 2-0 in Honduras. They will have the benefit of facing a weaker Pumas team than the one that plays in Liga MX but that might not be enough against a team that is better than them and is at home. Pumas has a great opportunity on Thursday and they should take advantage to right the ship after suffering their first defeat of the season on Saturday.