Mexican clubs have dominated all CONCACAF competition and at the moment, but Pumas UNAM are not quite the best that Mexico has to offer. Los Caleros didn't even qualify for the Liguilla in the Apertura and now find themselves all the way down at 14th in the Clausura with just one win in eight matches.
Struggling or not, just being a Mexican club has its perks. One of those is that you get respect no matter what and that is why Pumas enter their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie with Isidro Metapan as the favorites. Being favorites only gets you so far, though, and Metapan will surely be looking to give Pumas a couple licks in Thursday's first leg.
El Salvador isn't know for producing powerhouse club teams, but if there was a powerhouse, it would be Metapan, at least of late. The club has six league titles to their name with all of them coming since 2007. They are El Salvador's super club at the moments and they look every bit the part right now. The defending Apertura champions, Metapan are now undefeated in their first 11 matches of the Clausura and look likely to make it back-to-back titles.
Clearly, Metapan are no pushovers and if you need confirmation, ask Santos Laguna. Metapan took Santos down, 2-0 in the group stage when the Mexicans went down to El Salvador.
Young Salvadorian forward Lester Blanco has gone from up-and-coming to legitimate star and you can bet on him threatening the Pumas defense all match. If Pumas don't play their top team, which they didn't always do in the group stage, they could get ambushed and find themselves in a hole going home for the second leg.