Fri, Mar


Even in the long and proud tradition of football at storied Guatemalan side Xelaju, this week is shaping up as one of the biggest in the team's history, at least where international competition is concerned.

On Tuesday night, the Super Chivos host Trinidadian club W Connection in Quetzaltenango.  That game will provide the Guatemalans with a chance to take control of Group 8 of the CONCACAF Champions League, after Xelaju surprisingly knocked off Mexican giant Chivas last time out in the CCL at Mario Camposeco Stadium.

Following that feat up with another win at home over the Trinidadian Pro League champions would mean a four point advantage in the group for the Guatemalan side, heading into next month's rematch with regional heavyweight Chivas in Mexico.

Before the Guatemalans can think about upsetting Chivas again, though, a second date in a matter of weeks with the Caribbean side awaits.  In August, the defending Guatemalan champions, under the knowledgeable guidance of former Costa Rican international Hernan Medford, started off their CCL campaign on the right foot in Trinidad by securing a valuable point on the road.

"We're totally satisfied after tying Trinidad away, then beating a great team like Chivas, which came with its first team," Medford told  "Of course that's motivational, and now we have to try to win the game here against W Connection, to then go play basically a final, away against Chivas looking to qualify."

Headed into Tuesday night's match, Medford and his team know that a win against W Connection would put them in an enviable position headed to Guadalajara next month.  A victory against the Trinidadians would provide Xelaju with a chance to seal the group -- and a pass to the quarterfinals -- with just a tie in Guadalajara, no matter the outcome of next week's clash in the Caribbean between W Connection and Chivas.

But despite playing at a home stadium situated at 2400 meters above sea level -- an advantage which could well stymie the attack of the Caribbean side -- the Super Chivos will be unlikely to overlook their rival after needing a daring comeback to equalize the away match in Trinidad, after W Connection led 2-0 at the half.

"It was a good game," said Medford said of that clash.  "The first half Connection played better, the second half belonged to us.  So it was a completely fair result.  It was a game with a lot goals, and so it left me completely satisfied."

For Tuesday's game, Medford has his squad completely focused on W Connection, despite the looming date in Guadalajara.  But should the hosts pull out a victory in Quetzaltenango, eliminating W Connection in the process, their full attention would then turn to the pending rematch with Chivas on October 25th.

Following what Medford labeled a "historic triumph" at home last month, getting the result on the road in Mexico -- along with a ticket to the quarterfinals -- would surely prove even more noteworthy for the proud Guatemalan franchise, founded in 1928.

"It was one of those games that the team played very well, almost perfect, because we didn't really commit any errors," said Medford of the win over Chivas. "It's a completely historic result, but we're going to try to repeat it the 25th in Mexico."

Xelaju has won five Guatemalan league crowns and three national cups, but has limited experience in international play.  The club's fifth moon -- uniquely, Xelaju uses moons on its shirt in place of stars to represent titles won -- was captured during the 2012 Clausura earlier this year, with a finals victory over fellow CCL entrant Municipal.