CONCACAF.com provides an offering of storylines for you to follow during domestic league action this weekend:
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will look to gain the upper hand in the Major League Soccer Western Conference semifinals, when it hosts the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of their series on Sunday. Toronto FC – the MLS regular-season champion -- doesn’t open its playoff campaign until Monday with a visit to the New York Red Bulls.
On Saturday, first-place host Herediano (12-4-0, 40) can continue its unbeaten run to open the 2017 Invierno season with a win or draw against 10th-place Cartagines (2-8-5, 14). Earlier that same day, ninth-place Carmelita (4-4-8, 16) will look to extend its winning streak to four games, when it entertains last-place Municipal Liberia (3-2-10, 11).
First-place Alianza (10-6-0, 36) has not lost yet in the 2017 Apertura, but visiting Luis Angel Firpo (2-9-4, 15) hopes to change that on Sunday when they meet at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Remarkably, no team in the league is on an active winning streak of more than one game.
The weekend’s marquee matchup in the 2017 Apertura takes place Sunday with an encounter between Olimpia (6-3-3, 21) and first-place Motagua (7-5-1, 26). The third-place Leones were crowned champion of the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League on Thursday, prevailing over Santos de Guapiles, 4-1 on penalty kicks, after their two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate.
First-place Portmore United (4-1-0, 13) will put its five-match unbeaten run on the line Sunday with a visit to seventh-place Boys’ Town (1-2-2, 5).
It promises to be the match of the season Saturday, when first-place Monterrey (9-3-1, 30) hosts second-place Club America (8-2-4, 26) in a top-of-the-table clash. The Rayados are a perfect 6-0-0 at home, but the Aguilas have the most away wins of any team in the 2017 Liga MX Aperura (5).
The preliminary playoffs open Saturday with third-place Diriangen hosting sixth-place Real Madriz and fifth-place Juventus Managua visiting fourth-place Managua. First-place Real Esteli and second-place Walter Ferretti have byes.
First-place Arabe Unido (8-8-0, 32), second-place Tauro FC (8-6-2, 30) and third-place Plaza Amador (8-6-2, 30) have already secured places in the semifinal, while five clubs will battle for the last postseason berth. Fourth-place Chorrillo FC and fifth-place Atlético Veragüense both sit on 22 points, but they could separate themselves from the pack with wins over Sporting San Miguelito (16 points) and Arabe on Saturday.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
A mouthwatering clash Friday between the first-place host North East Stars (9-3-1, 30) and second-place DirecTV W Connection (8-3-2, 27) is the weekend’s featured match. The North East Stars are riding a four-game winning streak.
Seattle Sounders FC is the only U.S. side in MLS playoff action this weekend. The defending champion will visit rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal on Sunday.