The quest to bring respectable CONCACAF Champions League results to Major League Soccer will continue tonight when MLS clubs take on Mexican opponents yet again.
The Columbus Crew will take on Santos Laguna at Crew Stadium tonight (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel) in a vital match that could see Columbus claim first place in Group B with a victory. Toronto FC will try to ride the momentum of its last-second win against Houston by traveling to Mexico and facing Cruz Azul, led by red-hot Mexican striker Javier Orozco.
Columbus is coming off a 4-0 drubbing against Seattle, but a win tonight against Santos could put the Crew in prime position to qualify to the knockout rounds.
Toronto's task is much tougher. No MLS team has ever won a Champions League match in Mexico, and TFC will have to do so against a Cruz Azul team (10pm, Fox soccer Channel) that will be looking for revenge after its loss to the Canadians at BMO Field at the beginning of the group stage. Anything less than a win tonight and Toronto could see its Champions League quarterfinal dreams dashed.
Here are some other subjects to discuss on this Tuesday morning:
SHEA GIVEN ADDITIONAL SUSPENSION
FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea is enjoying a stellar season, but he lost his cool and will pay the additional price.
Shea was given an additional one-game suspension to go along with the red card he was issued in last week's 2-2 tie vs. the New York Red Bulls. Shea earned the red for an ugly challenge on Chris Albright, but when he refused to leave the field in a timely manner, and made contact with an official as he got involved in a shoving match with some Red Bulls players, he assured himself of an added suspension.
It isn't the first sign of petulance from the fiery winger. I can recall a game last season when he yanked his arm away from FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman after Hyndman substituted him early in a match. Hyndman promptly grabbed up the former first-round pick and let him know the behavior was unacceptable.
While Shea's immaturity can't be completely ignored, we also can't forget that he is still just 20 years old and growing into being a professional. He isn't the first hot-tempered young player we'll see in MLS and he won't be the last. In fact, in some ways Shea reminds me of a young Clint Dempsey, who was known for his own petulance early in his career.
Shea has a bright future, but he's still growing up, so we shouldn't write him off as a head-case just yet. Now, if he's still pushing refs and losing his temper five years from now we might have to worry.
PELADA MAKES NYC DEBUT TONIGHT
The independent soccer film Pelada will have its New York City premiere tonight, and if you haven't seen the movie yet, it's a must-see for all soccer fans.
The premiere is being held on Tuesday evening (8pm, doors open at 7pm) at Legends Bar & Restaurant in Manhattan (6 W. 33rd St.) and will feature an introduction by Ethan Zohn and a Q&A after the screening with the film's makers. You can buy tickets online here, or buy tickets at the event (the venue is small so you should buy your tickets ahead of time to avoid missing out). I will be attending the premiere and look forward to meeting some SBI readers.
What do you think of tonight's Champions League matches? See Toronto winning in Mexico? Think Columbus can straighten itself out? Hoping Shea grows up fast? Will I see you in New York tonight at the Pelada premiere?
Share your thoughts below.