FC Dallas plans to be prepared for Tauro
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In 2018, the USA’s FC Dallas (pictured) will make its third Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League appearance. (Photo: Mexsport)

DORAL, Florida -- FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo knows there’s no room for error in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League knockout rounds.

Unlike the competition’s previous nine editions – which had a group stage that led to a two-legged quarterfinal and proceeded from there -- the 2018 version will be direct elimination, win and advance, or lose and go home.

"We really have to be careful," said Clavijo. "You cannot make mistakes in the way the tournament is played today. We have to make sure we take advantage and take care of business right away."

On Monday, the MLS side was drawn to face Panama’s Tauro FC in the Round of 16. The teams’ only previous SCCL meeting came in the 2011/12 group stage, with the first game ending in a 1-1 draw and Tauro winning 5-3 at home.

Clavijo, whose club was eliminated by Pachuca in the 2016/17 SCCL semifinals (agg: 3-4), believes Panamanian soccer is on the upswing.

“The national team has done great in qualifying for the World Cup,” he remarked. “They are in a high note right now. Playing in the tournament (SCCL) is not going to be any different. There are a lot of things to prove to the rest of the world, to the rest of CONCACAF and we have to be careful."

A concern for Clavijo heading into the SCCL is that Tauro will have approximately seven league games under its belt by time it squares off against Dallas, which will be coming out of preseason training.

"This is something that we have to be careful [about]," finished the 61-year-old, adding that head coach Oscar Pareja was planning "to make sure we have about six or seven meaningful games [so] that when we play Tauro we have some competition behind us."

In last year’s SCCL quarterfinals, FC Dallas eliminated another Panamanian opponent, Arabe Unido, 5-2 on aggregate.

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