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CONCACAF Champions League: Terrific First Legs

Image:CONCACAF CL logo.png

Well ladies and gentleman, this is what I have been hoping for a good while now. A better tournament and an expansion from a cup into a league format along with the away goals rule.  Finally Jack Warner along with the rest of his group in the offices of CONCACAF got it right. Even though the Houston Dynamo are the lone MLS representative in this tournament you can’t argue as a true football supporter that there has been action and drama just like what goes on in the UEFA Champions League.

The Dynamo leading all match long till Atlante got their much needed away goal to equalize and head down to Mexico for the second leg. A brilliant night for Canada and the supporters of Montreal filling up the Big O with over 55,500 and a big match for Eduardo Sebrango as he earned a brace in the Impact’s first leg against Oswaldo Sanchez’s Santos Laguna. All night long the supporters were singing just like they do for the Canadiens at the Bell Centre for NHL Hockey.

And once again another fantastic night for the USL as the PuertoRico Islanders who were down a goal just four minutes before halftime by C.D. Marathon came on in the secondhalf hunting for an equalizer, but got goals in a span of eight minutes from second half substitutes Nicolas Addlery in the 74th Minute and Kendall Jagdeosingh in the 81st. Yes PuertoRico gave up the away goal, but once again it’s going to be fun when next week comes around to see if they can match it.

This is the main reason why the old Champions Cup had to be extended into a Champions League to help our players in MLS and those that are members of the USL but qualify in their countries to have more experience in International play. Sadly the past qualifying round and group stages three of the four clubs that came from MLS didn’t get far because of the interference to play Superliga before this tournament got started last year. That’s of course Chivas-USA, the New England Revolution as Superliga champions as well as the injury riddled DC United. I’m glad to see that MLS has made the change to not allow clubs that do qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League to be involved with Superliga.

I am very excited for the end of July 2009 as Red Bull NY will be involved withthe qualifying round for the upcoming 2009-10 Champions League. This will be the first time I will see my club involved with International Club Competition inside CONCACAF since 2001 when they were known as the MetroStars and were invited to the South American tournament that was the predecessor of the Copa SudAmericana. It was called the Copa Merco Norte and at the time it was four groups of four from the USA, Mexico & the clubs from South America.

I saw the Metro defeat Venezuelan side Deportivo Italchacao two nil, a road loss to Colombian side Millionarios. They were suppose to play Chivas of Guadalajara at Giants Stadium, but 9-11 happened and when it was rescheduled, Guadalajara claimed the USA wasn’t safe to play, but ignored the tournament and the Metro for a classico match with Club America. So the goats were suspended and lost six points along with four goals and all my club needed was a draw to advance into the Quarterfinals. Sadly it was a loss at Italchacao & a loss to Millionarios at Giants Stadium that eliminated them from the knock out stages. But I can gladly say that I was at Giants Stadium to see my club defeat Italchacao in International Club Competition.

Let’s hope the 2nd legs in the Quarterfinals are a lot better and more dramatic than the first legs in the CONCACAF Champions League.

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  1. Daniel Feuerstein

    February 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Well let me say this Jonathan. If Columbus & Houston participated in both Superliga & Champions League, both of them would’ve been out of the Group Stage by the fourth match. DC United & RBNY wouldn’t be in the superliga, if it stayed status quo.

    I think we will have a better representation in the CCL this time around than the Qualifying Round & Group Stages of last year.

  2. Jonathan

    February 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Daniel, thanks for update on Superliga/ CCL participation. It’d be interesting to observe how the next CCL shapes up.

  3. eplnfl

    February 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Have to agree that the new format seems to be a winner. MLS fans will have something that they should like more then the Superliga which last year did not feel to me to be all that relevant.

  4. Daniel Feuerstein

    February 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Ashlee. A Brace simply means one player scoring two goals in one game.

    Jonathan: The Superliga was considered based on the rivalry between the National Teams of Mexico & the USA by using Club sides in a Champions League format, but only four sides per country. Two MLS Sides and two Mexican club sides in one group each. The only good thing about it was the Million Dollar prize money. There was no other means for Superliga & the first year of it was invited teams, last year was based on conference standings as the top two in the East & West automatically went thru.

    CONCACAF was too slow in expanding the Champions Cup into a League because they saw Superliga as a threat & when they finally expanded the tournament into a League format, MLS finally saw the problems. You can’t have your sides invovled with Superliga also get involved with the Champions League. Not only did it add to fixture congestion, but you could see the players did not have the energy to compete.

    Thank goodness Don Garber saw the problems and said who ever is invovled with the new CONCACAF Champions League won’t be apart of Superliga.

  5. ashlee vance

    February 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Can someone explain what a brace is you people refer to.
    I wore braces on my teeth and one on my knee but scoring a brace when you scored two goals is one of those idiotic things we probably picked up from the brits and makes us seem smarter. no it doesnt. And in this country we say the Kentucky Derby, not dArby.

    ok, now that i got that rant out, how much do you think Farber wants Montreal to lose by 3 goals next week… most people forgot that whole ‘they changed their minds/no we didnt’ bungle with expansion but now we get reminded that a team that is not in the MSL is pulling in 55,000 while Houston got what….7,000 or so…..
    If they get through to the semis, it will be one more chance for a big home crowd and for people asking Farber “What were you thinking?”
    And money and viability were not a problem with Montreal were the owners would have beent Gillet who owns Liverpool FC and Montreal hockey club among other sports franchises and the Saputo family which has huge food industry holdings.

    And those Montreal soccer fans dont sing like the hockey fans there rather it is the hockey fans in Montreal that have taken to singing generic european soccer chants like Ole, Ole, Ole.

    We dont need eurosnobs, we need to promote and feature our own stars. Why isnt every goal part of little weekly montage on youtube or maybe a focus on some star player?
    What we need is still getting our act together and get the MLS and USL’s combined and have relegation system. If youre a bottom dweller like Toronto you should go down in a lower division instead sticking around becase you have nowhere to go down.
    Our system rewards constant failure..

  6. Jonathan

    February 27, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Is pre season and game congestion the official spin from MLS? Did league officials comment on how the Superliga is more relevant?

    It’d be interesting if a USL team or a non Mexico team get to to the Club World Cup. What will be the reaction of the league and its fans? Will the glorious and prestigious Superliga be then quoted?

    Talk about wrong priority. How’s that working out attracting so called “Eurosnobs”?

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