Tuesday, February 20, 2007

CONCACAF Champions Cup & MLS

Yeah, it's time for this again. Forget April 7, this is the real beginning of the soccer season in America. DC United and Houston will lead the charge for MLS tomorrow, and for once it seems like our representatives are actually the two best teams in the league. Dallas and New England have both lost key players. Thankfully, the rule change giving the Supporters Shield winner the second spot instead of the MLS Cup loser means that we won't be subjected to seeing the Revs play two away games for the third time.

Last year, for the first time ever, no MLS team advanced in the tournament. A pathetic showing, indeed. The Revs were never expected to advance due to their lack of a home game, although they only conceded a single goal at the end of the second match versus Alajuelense. The Galaxy, on the other hand, were up 2-0 on aggregate against Saprissa at half time of the second leg. As usual for American teams, they couldn't hold it and lost in extra time. It was bitterly disappointing, and what was very disturbing is that in both "home legs," neither MLS team scored a goal.

This time around, the away legs are up first, so they'll have to score a few at home this time. All in all, you want the away legs first, so that's a good sign. What's also a good sign is that Alajuelense and Saprissa both failed to qualify, and Municipal of Guatemala as well. Their opponents this time should be easier to handle, and anything less than both teams advances should be considered a failure. Given all the publicity and money coming into the league, that's the least we should expect. I think we all consider MLS to be stronger than any CONCACAF league other than Mexico (and other than Argentina and Brazil, every league in CONMEBOL as well). Despite the lack of midseason form, we should still beat these teams.

DC's opponent is Olimpia of Honduras. MLS has never lost to a Honduran team, not even a single game. This is definitely the easier match up of the two. Plus, it helps when you sign their best player before you play them. Emelio will be starting up front for DC against his former team. He replaces Alecko Eskandarian, while Ben Olsen will probably start on the right with Clyde Simms taking his spot in the middle. Very little change from the great team they had last year.

Houston is also the same team, minus Adrian Serioux. Brian Ching will probably miss out due to injury, although he may come off the bench. I would expect a guy like Paul Dalglish to play well on the road in a hostile environment, so it's good that they have him. Puntarenas should not be underrated. They defeated Alajuelense 5-0 on aggregate on their way to winning the Central American championship. Alajuelense and Saprissa are like the Rangers and Celtic of Costa Rica, so they must be pretty good.

It would be really cool to see an American team in the Club World Championship. That's the goal.

Quartefinal Matchups/Dates

2/22-Pachuca vs Marquense
2/28-Marquense vs Pachuca

2/21-Puntarenas vs Houston
3/01-Houston vs Puntarenas

2/21-Olimpia vs DC United
3/01-DC United vs Olimpia

2/13-W. Connection 2:1 Guadalajara
2/28-Guadalajara vs W. Connection

MLS in the CONCACAF Champions Cup

(note: A few corrections were made from last year's similar post.)

(final tournament held in Washington D.C.)


Los Angeles 4:1 Santos Laguna


D.C. United 1:0 United Petrotrin
Los Angeles 2:0 Luis Angel Firpo


D.C. United 0:1 Los Angeles

3rd Place

D.C. United 2:2 Guadalajara


Los Angeles 3:5 Cruz Azul

1998 (final tournament held in Washington D.C.)


Colorado 1:0 Leon
Leon 4:2 Colorado


D.C. United 8:0 Joe Public


D.C. United 2:0 Leon


D.C. United 1:0 Toluca

1999 (final tournament held in Las Vegas)


Los Angeles 1:1 (3-4 pens) Necaxa


D.C. United 1:0 Olimpia
Chicago 2:0 Joe Public


D.C. United 1:3 Necaxa
Chicago 1:1 (4-5 pens) Alajuenense

3rd Place

D.C. United 2:2 Chicago

2000 (final tournament held in Los Angeles, in January 2001)


D.C. United 2:1 Alajuenense
Los Angeles 0:0 (5-3 pens) Real Espana


Los Angeles 1:1 (4-2 pens) D.C. United

3rd Place

D.C. United 1:2 Pachuca


Los Angeles 3:2 Olimpia

2001 - no tournament


Round of 16

Olimpia 0:1 San Jose
San Jose 3:1 Olimpia

W. Connection 0:1 Kansas City
Kansas City 2:0 W. Connection

Comunicaciones 4:0 D.C. United
D.C. United 2:1 Comunicaciones

Municipal 0:1 Chicago
Chicago 2:0 Municipal


Pachuca 3:0 San Jose
San Jose 1:0 Pachuca

Santos Laguna 2:1 Kansas City
Kansas City 2:0 Santos Laguna

Morelia 2:0 Chicago
Chicago 2:1 Morelia


Morelia 6:1 Kansas City
Kansas City 1:1 Morelia


Round of 16

Arabe Unido 2:1 Columbus
Columbus 3:0 Arabe Unido

Alajuelense 4:0 New England
Alajuelense 1:3 New England (home leg)

Municipal 4:2 San Jose
San Jose 2:1 Municipal

Motagua 2:2 Los Angeles
Los Angeles 1:0 Motagua


Morelia 6:0 Columbus
Columbus 2:0 Morelia

Los Angeles 1:4 Necaxa
Necaxa 2:1 Los Angeles



Alajuelense 3:0 San Jose
San Jose 1:0 Alajuelense

San Juan Jabloteh 5:2 Chicago
Chicago 4:0 San Juan Jabloteh


Saprissa 2:0 Chicago
Chicago 2:1 Saprissa



Kansas City 0:0 Saprissa
Saprissa 2:1 Kansas City (AET)

D.C. United 2:1 Harbour View
Harbour View 1:2 D.C. United


D.C. United 1:1 UNAM Pumas
UNAM Pumas 5:0 D.C. United



New England 0:0 Alajuelense (home leg in Bermuda)
Alajuelense 1:0 New England

Los Angeles 0:0 Saprissa
Saprissa 3:2 Los Angeles (AET)

Alltime Records

DC United 9 5 4 31 29 25 4
Chicago 6 3 2 20 18 14 4
Los Angeles 5 4 5 20 22 21 1
San Jose 5 3 0 15 10 12 -2
Kansas City 3 3 2 11 9 11 -2
Columbus 2 2 0 6 6 8 -2
New England 1 2 1 4 3 6 -3
Colorado 1 1 0 3 3 4 -1

Top Goalscorers

Roy Lassiter 6
Edson Buddle 4
Eduardo Hurtado 4
Dema Kovalenko 4
Carey Talley 4
Landon Donovan 3
Ezra Hendrickson 3
Ben Olsen 3
Ante Razov 3
A.J. Wood 3

Comments on "CONCACAF Champions Cup & MLS"


Blogger The Manly Ferry said ... (10:57 AM, February 20, 2007) : 

I see we're working the same beat. Great analysis as always. And, yes, history sure makes it look like Houston got the tougher draw (though I never caught our perfect record against Honduran teams).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:41 PM, February 20, 2007) : 

Hey guys (scareyice/manly ferry) great job on the Champion's Cup preview!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:10 PM, February 20, 2007) : 

I think we all consider MLS to be stronger than any CONCACAF league other than Mexico (and other than Argentina and Brazil, every league in CONMEBOL as well)

Until the MLS teams and players prove themselves on the international stage, statements as to the strength of our league are hyperbolic at best. I, for one, do not believe our best teams would fair well in home/home series against Universidad Catolica or Colo Colo of Chile, The Strongest of Bolivia, Nacional of Uruguay, or Atletico Nacional of Columbia. The only real competition we have to support our claim of strength is the Concacaf Champions Cup which, scaryice's post demonstrates, does not seem to supporting a claim of MLS strength (since 1999 only one MLS team has reached the finals. Ouch.). I believe we are not far off from the strenght purported, and I remain a firm believer in MLS's potential; however, the empiricist in me requires evidence of the claims, which I can not find.


Blogger scaryice said ... (5:48 PM, February 20, 2007) : 

OVERALL, I think it's a no brainer that our leagues are better than Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Costa Rica, etc. However, the top teams from those leagues may be better than the top teams in MLS. But top to bottom I think we're better.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:06 PM, February 21, 2007) : 

I'll agree with the overall comment. Especially since one of the teams mentioned, Universidad Catolica, played an international friendly against RSL in 2005 (yes, THAT RSL team) and RSL won, 3-2. MLS would fare well.


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