Olimpico Motagua stands in Toronto FC's way of making history.

TFC hosts the Honduran club Tuesday night in the first leg of its CONCACAF Champions League qualifier, a match the Canadian club has to win if it is to have any legitimate chance of qualifying for the tournament.

The winner of the home-and-away series advances to the group stage of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, a 16-team competition featuring the best teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Toronto and Motagua will play the second game next week in Honduras.

Toronto is taking a second stab at qualifying for the CONCACAF tournament after losing a two-game preliminary series against the Puerto Rico Islanders last year.

As the reigning Canadian club champions, TFC is eager to make its mark in the Champions League and equal the success of the Montreal Impact, who reached the quarter-finals two years ago.

Tough challenge

But Motagua poses a tough challenge. The Honduran side boasts several skilled players who played at the recent World Cup in South Africa, including playmaking midfielder (and former Toronto FC member) Amado Guevara.

Toronto will also have to play the second leg of the series on the road before what should be a hostile crowd in Honduras.

"It's generally considered to be an advantage to play the second leg at home because you know what you have to do when you have that home-field advantage," said Jason de Vos, soccer commentator for CBC Sports and a former captain of Canada's national team.

"It's very important for Toronto to get off to a good start in this competition. Hopefully they can [record a shutout], win the game and then go down to Honduras for a very difficult second game."

Tuesday's game comes in the middle of a busy week for the Reds.

Toronto was held to a 1-1 draw by FC Dallas in Major League Soccer action. After Tuesday's tilt, TFC travels to Kansas City to take on the Wizards Saturday in another crucial game that it has to win in order to stay in the playoff mix.

Difficult week

On Wednesday, TFC captain Dwayne De Rosario will be in Houston for the MLS All-Star Game against English giants Manchester United before rejoining his Toronto teammates, so it will be interesting to see how much playing time he will see against Motagua.

"This is a huge tournament," midfielder Julian de Guzman said after the Dallas game.

"It's something we have been fighting for. Two-legged matches are very tricky, so we need to not allow a goal at home."

There's no question that this is a difficult week for the Canadian club, but de Vos believes it will take this series with Motagua seriously and give it equal priority, especially after failing to qualify last year.

"They want to go one better and represent Canada in [this tournament] and get to the group stage," said de Vos.

The winner of 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League advances to the 2011 FIFA World Club Cup, which is contested between the champions from all six continental soccer confederations.