Banner Week For MLS Clubs In Champions League

RSL huddle at FC Dallas match on weekend

So far, so good. That’s the general theme for Major League Soccer squads competing in this incarnation of the CONCACAF Champions League.

It’s going to have to remain that way if they want to advance to the knockout rounds, given the new Group Stage format. There is little room for error for the teams who have earned their spot, with a single team emerging from each of the eight three-team Groups. In years past, with four Groups of four teams each, the top two would clear the bar, thus making for less tension in every match. In order to cut down on fixture congestion, as well as add eight more clubs to the fold, CONCACAF decided to reshuffle their Group Stages, thus placing more of a premium on every match played. It now comes down to four matches, and the team that rises above the other two in their Group gets a coveted spot in the Knockout Rounds.

So here’s a brief overview of what’s happened in the last few days.

Real Salt Lake 2 : 0 Tauro

After a disappointing 1-0 loss away to Herediano, the Utahns needed to harness the three points awaiting them at Rio Tinto Stadium. It may have taken until after the half, but Salt Lake finally strode ahead and defeated Tauro of Panama. Goals by Alvaro Saborio and Kyle Beckerman took care of business, though the dreadlocked midfielder will miss the next Group Stage match at Tauro because he picked up a red card in the 72nd minute. That match could be huge, and Jason Kreis’ crew should know by this time next week whether a full three points at Tauro is a necessity, since Herediano makes a Panamanian trip on Thursday.

FAS 1 : 3  Houston Dynamo 

The MLS Cup Runners-Up began their Group C play in El Salvador, against an FAS side who lost 3-0 to Olympia (Honduras) two weeks ago. The Dynamo did a number on Los Tigres, dropping them 3-1 to send a note to the group leader that it’s not going to be easy. Brian Ching opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a trademark header, and the men in their away whites were on their way. Cam Weaver and Je-Vaughn Watson also tallied for Houston, who rested a number of key starters from their normal squad. Jonathan Aguila got a goal back for FAS, who dominated the latter portions of this match.

Los Angeles Galaxy 5:2 Isidro Metapan

The surging Galaxy, playing without captain Landon Donovan after picking up a knock in the US/Mexico friendly, destroyed Group B leaders Isidro Metapan. It looked a bit bleak for Los Angeles early on, as Nicolas Munoz gave Los Caleros a lead in the 17th minute. Three minutes later, the reigning MLS Cup Champions would equalize off Metapan defender Jose Alvarado. The Galaxy would also score the next three goals, with Beckham first setting up Keane, then getting a goal himself. Juninho also scored two goals to carry Los Angeles to the lead in the Group, with still two matches against the Puerto Rico Islanders and the tricky return fixture in El Salvador on the last match day of the Group Stages.

The other two teams, Seattle Sounders and Toronto F.C., were off this week, but both earned wins in their first matches two weeks ago. They will resume next week. On Tuesday, Toronto hosts a huge showdown with Santos Laguna in a rematch of the Champions League Semifinal from this spring. Then on Wednesday the Galaxy will host Puerto Rico. Lastly, Seattle heads down to Trinidad and Tobago to face Caledonia AIA. All matches will be broadcast on FOX Soccer.

14 Responses to Banner Week For MLS Clubs In Champions League

  1. Alan says:

    Awesome to see. They just need to keep it up.

  2. Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

    For those that love to use terms like eurosnob, I do critic things
    that UEFA does. I think the Europa League and supper cups are
    pointless. I also think that the relaxation on the number of
    foreign players allowed per club, have created a disparity problem
    ……….But, when it comes to the way spots are asigned to
    countries on the continental championships, Europe should be a good
    example to follow. They do it based on merit and not (unlike
    Concacaf ) on the political desicion of their
    directives………….How different would the CCL be if we
    assigned spots based on merit?……..I took the time and computed
    the last 3 seassons ( excluding games among teams from same country
    ), and this are the results:………..Mexico wins 72% on the
    points its teams play for, Canada 51.52%, USA 47.56%, Costa Rica
    47.22%, Honduras 39.10%, Gutemala 37.18%, Panama 33.33%, El
    Salvador 30.00%, Caribe 28.47%, Nicaragua 00.00$. ………..If we
    set a few simple rules : (maximum team x country = 4) (minimum
    =1)(no country can be assigned spots that are more than 50% of
    their top league)…..this will be the number of spots x country
    (24 entrants):…………………Mexico 4; USA 3; Costa Rica 3;
    Honduras 3; Canada 2; Guatemala 2; Panama 2; El Salvador 2; Caribe
    2; Nicaragua 1…………………….the difference with the
    actual CCL will be: Canada +1 / Costa Rica +1 / Honduras +1 / USA
    -1 / El Salvador -1 / Caribe -1

    • Alan says:

      My god, we might have found something that we agree on. However,
      one thing to consider is that US/Canada is one league. There are 5
      teams combined between US/Canada. I don’t think that your system
      will work for that reason. As of now, the way that it is works

      • Charles says:

        Exactly what I tried to type last night. Canada, if both teams (
        after you add one ) did well could add a team and then they would
        be at 3 ?!?! With 3 MLS teams in all of Canada. I think something
        would have to be adjusted there.

        • Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

          I though about that Charles, that is why one of the premises is:
          ..”no country can be assigned spots that are more than 50% of their
          top league”…………since Canada only have 4 teams playing the
          Nutrilite Championship, it is limited to 2
          entrants………..actualy , if you ignore that rule, Canada
          “coeficient” would grant them a 3rd entrant right now.

  3. Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

    I do not like at all the actual structure. They shouldn’t have
    eliminated the preliminary round…….The preliminary round
    filters the quality of teams that play the group stage. And, Like a
    good history, builds up interest in different stages…….Now,
    they “throw you” right into a devaluated, smaller group stage, and
    right after that we are in to the quarters-finals……I find the
    new structure very unatractive……I also think that the group
    heads should be given to the countries that booked the previous
    year quarter-finals. This year should have been Mexico 4, USA 2,
    Canada 1, El Salvador 1………it does not make any sense, that
    none MLS team faces a Mexican, but Toronto and the 1st Salvadorian
    qualifier, which made it further than 2 MLS teams, have to face
    Mexican oposition on the group stage…………..CONCACAF should
    correct this sooner rather than latter if it wants to raise its
    profile as a serious Confederation.

    • Tijuana Robert says:

      I’m not sure why they ditched the preliminary round either because
      it gives weaker teams from weaker leagues the same weight as
      others. I’d rather see two stages of preliminary rounds followed by
      a group stage with 4 teams in 4 groups with two top teams advancing
      to round of 8. Team allocations should be decided by a coefficient
      on how well teams perform in the competition.

      • Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

        the original 4 groups of 4 was very good. 24 entrants and a
        preliminary roud with 8 games was good too IMHO. What made no sense
        was the designation of head of the groups,……it should had been
        assigned to the previous season semifinalists. Also the 4 nations
        that booked the 4 teams that loose on the semis should had been
        given direct entrants to the group stage……the other 16 ->
        preliminary round ……..what made no sense ( and provably had
        something to do with the change, besides schedule congestion and
        travel reduction ), was to have a mexican team play the preliminary
        round against the Haitian Tempete ( just an example )……..the
        system did not acknowledged the strengh difference among our member
        nations………..instead of fixing the wrong and create a very
        nice and logical structure, they created one much
        worse……… kind of feels like it is the USSF on charge of
        the CCL

      • Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

        @Robert……I don’t think there are any other teams in our
        confederation with reasonable quality to go over 24 entrants. I
        think the number of entrants they got spot on!….so just one round
        of 8 preliminary games is enough………….I run a simulation on
        how the tournament could be composed if they did it right
        IMO……it looks something like
        Islanders/Real Esteli)-(LD Alajuelense/ W.
        Metapan-(Vancouver/FAS)-(RSL/Olimpia)]…………….doesn’t it
        look like a lot stronger tournament?

  4. The original Tom says:

    Upsetting week, but hopefully RSL will loose their next one.

  5. Roger(Pro/Rel) says:

    The MLS side that have it tougher is Houston. Olimpia has always
    been one of the strongest Central American teams. They also have
    the extra motivation of been in their 100 years aniversary.

    • Alan says:

      Holy crap, has hell frozen over? You and Robert talking about
      something of substance for a change? I know that sounds like I am
      making fun but I like this. Keep it up!

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