Tijuana’s path to winning the CONCACAF Champions League always went through the United States, however they probably didn’t think the trip would happen until later in the tournament. But due to social and political unrest in Honduras, the first round match against Fútbol Club Motagua will be held in Edinburg, Texas.
Honduras is seeing a wave of political violence that was touched off by the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernández. Despite the Honduran constitution prohibiting Presidents serving more than one term, Hernández was granted the opportunity to run by the Honduran Supreme Court. Despite early returns showing his opponent leading with a seemingly insurmountable 57% of the vote, Hernández nonetheless won by a 1.5% margin. This plunged the country of an estimated nine million into unrest, with riots leaving an estimated 31 dead so far.
Instead, Club Tijuana and FC Motagua will face off in Edinburg, a town of about 88,000 people half an hour drive north of the US-Mexico border at McAllen. They’ll play at H-E-B Park, home of Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, the USL affiliate of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. The match will happen on February 21 at 9:00 p.m. local time (10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific), and the originally scheduled match in Tijuana will not be impacted.
The unrest in Honduras also forced Club Olimpia, the other Honduran team in the competition, to move their home match against the New York Red Bulls to Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica. Due to existing sanctions against Club Olimpia they picked up against rivals Alianza in the CONCACAF League Quarterfinals (see the video below), the match will (still) be played behind closed doors. This match will take place on February 22 at 9:00 p.m. local time (10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific).
Should either Honduran club progress, CONCACAF has stated the next round’s match would also be played outside of Honduras. If both Tijuana and the Red Bulls advance to the next round, they will face one another.