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CONCACAF Champions League: American Sides cannot avoid Mexican Teams

The draw for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League was held yesterday and it is entirely possible all five American representatives, three of whom must qualify for the groups stage through the play in stage will all face Mexican teams in group play. Ironically enough, Toronto FC if they qualify for the tournament has as good a chance as any American based team to advance win their group. MLS sides that are largely filled with American squad players have proven over time they can not compete with Mexican or even the better Central American clubs in international competition. But Toronto FC, who is arguably the deepest team in MLS also has a number of European players that are likely to perform better in these tough international circumstances. In addition, Toronto will the kind of advantage in the home leg that New England and Chivas USA could only dream about it.

The other very deep team in MLS is New England and while I am tempted to tip them for a deep run, the lack of a true home field advantage could doom the club. Drawing Atlante as the Mexican team in the group which potentially features New England and the CanadaCup winner is a lucky break: Atlante is the only Mexican club I can see struggling in this competition.

Here is the draw:

Group A
USA2: D.C. United
CRC1: Deportivo Saprissa
Series 4 Winner: Cruz Azul or Hankook Verdes
Series 8 Winner: Isidro Metapan or Olimpia/Marathon

Group B
USA1: Houston Dynamo
SLV1: CD Luis Angel Firpo
Series 1 Winner: Jalapa/Municipal or San Francisco FC
Series 5 Winner: Harbour View FC or Pumas UNAM

Group C
MEX1: Atlante FC
HON1: CD Olímpia or CD Marathon
Series 2 Winner: Joe Public FC or New England Revolution
Series 7 Winner: CAN1 or NCA1

Group D
MEX2: Club Santos Laguna
GUA1: CSD Municipal or Deportivo Jalapa
Series 3 Winner: LD Alajuelense or Puerto Rico Islanders
Series 6 Winner: Chivas USA or Tauro FC

Quarter-Final Predictions

A1 Saprissa defeats B2 Houston

A2 Cruz Azul defeats B1 Pumas

C1 Toronto FC defeats D2 LD Alajuelense

D1 Santos defeats C2 New England Revoltuion

SEMI FINALS

Cruz Azul defeats Saprissa

Santos defeats Toronto FC

FINALS

Santos defeats Cruz Azul

There you have it. A very early prediction of Edgar Castillio and Santos as the inaugural North American Champions League winners.


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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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