Taking a 2-0 lead back to Mexico for an MLS or USL side in a Continental competition should never be permitted. For third time in three years a team from one of North America’s leagues has blown a two goal aggregate lead heading into the second leg. Ironically, however the result ended up being affected by CONCACAF’s rules that have changed over the past few years.
In the old Champions Cup, CONCACAF did not use away goals. Had the away goals rule been applied, Houston would have advanced to the CONCACAF Champions Cup final in 2007 defeating Pachuca. Instead, Pachuca advanced after scoring a winning goal in extra time.
Earlier this year, the Montreal Impact knowing CONCACAF was now using the away goals rule scored two away goals at Santos, meaning they’d advance on a tied aggregate score, but gave up two goals in stoppage time, the final one clearly offsides and we eliminated at the hands of the Mexican side.
Then last night, much of the American TV audience was under the impression for most of extra time that the Puerto Rico Islanders would advance on a drawn aggregate score because of a goal in extra time. However, we discovered late in the second stanza of extra time that goals scored after the initial 90 minutes away from home do not count as away goals (as they do in UEFA and COMENBOL) and thus the Islanders went to PKs with Cruz Azul and predictably lost.
Also, let’s not forget that DC United lost in the Copa Sudamericana second round in 2007 to Chivas because COMNEBOL did apply the away goals rule at the time in their competition.
Mexican sides are clearly superior to MLS or USL sides. Anyone who watched the Mexican League and has also watched MLS or USL can clearly state that. For all the talk that MLS is balanced, Mexico has produced far more competitive teams than any other league in the Americas.
In fact, I would strongly argue based on watching world football from all over the globe that top to bottom the Mexican League is one of the top seven leagues on the planet and is easily the best league in the Americas. The top teams in Brazil and Argentina tend to be better than the top Mexican teams, but the 10th best teams in those top South American leagues are almost always badly outclassed when compared to the top teams in Mexico.