Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena believes the scheduling of the CONCACAF Champions League needs to be reviewed after his expensively assembled team suffered a one-sided quarter-final exit.
A Galaxy side bristling with foreign talent led by Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Nigel De Jong were trounced 4-0 by Mexican outfit Santos Laguna on Tuesday, sealing a 4-0 aggregate defeat.
Galaxy’s thrashing followed a pattern of under-achievement by Major League Soccer sides in the competition, which often arrives at the business end of the Champions League in the off-season, before the MLS has kicked off.
Asked if he believed the MLS should review the scheduling of the competition, Arena replied: “That’s something that they should be working to do because it’s been a complaint of ours for a number of years.”
“In all fairness to CONCACAF, Liga MX is adhering to the international calendar. We’re the league that does not recognize the international calendar. Therefore we get punished for it.”
All four MLS quarter-finalists in the CONCACAF Champions League risk making an exit at the hands of Mexican teams in the last eight this year.
DC United were knocked out after a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Queretaro on Tuesday, while Seattle Sounders face a daunting trip to the Azteca Stadium on Wednesday to face America after being held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg.
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, need to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit when they host Tigres UANL on Wednesday.
Although Galaxy captain Keane said earlier this week the MLS was now on a par with Mexico’s top flight, Arena said this week’s results showed there was a still a gap between the two leagues.
“I think the Mexican league is ahead of MLS,” Arena told www.lagalaxy.com.
“We’re closing the gap, but clearly, I think the Mexican league is ahead of MLS at this point in time.”
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