FC Dallas always targeted CONCACAF Champions League title - Matt Hedges
Winning the CONCACAF Champions League has proven to be a tall order for MLS clubs, but Matt Hedges says FC Dallas has always been aiming for the trophy.
Although Mexican teams have won every continental title since the CCL adopted its current format in 2008, Dallas holds a 2-1 advantage over Pachuca ahead of Tuesday' semifinal second leg.
Dallas started the Champions League campaign last August and has traveled to Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, but despite the long road team captain Hedges told MLSSoccer.com the competition had always been a priority.
"I think when we started the tournament, back in the group stages, it was something that we targeted that we wanted to win," he said.
"I don't really know there was a time while we were doing it [that efforts increased]. We were just kind of running with it. We knew we wanted to go all the way with it."
Clubs must balance the demands of their regular season with chasing the Champions League, but MLS helped Dallas by agreeing to move its game against the Colorado Rapids, scheduled for Saturday, to Oct. 7.
Free of MLS commitments, Dallas has been training in Mexico since last week to help acclimatize to the high altitude, and coach Oscar Pareja said his team could have no excuses.
"The good teams normally have two or three competitions at the same time and that happens all over the world," Pareja said. "And we should be proud about having [to make those] compromises.
"So instead of just making excuses or it being too easy, they feel blessed and fortunate to be able to put the team into those stages and be able to be victors. That's a great thing."
With a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup on the line for the winners, midfielder Kellyn Acosta said Dallas would not shy away from its biggest challenge yet.
"From the beginning, one of our strengths is that whatever tournament, whatever game, we go in with an amount of readiness that we're going to win," he added.
"The overall feeling from the group is that we have a good opportunity each and every game to be ourselves, to go out there and showcase. We're going to do the best that we can to win the title."
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