MLS- Real Salt Lake

RSL to face Columbus in CCL quarters, MLS avoids Mexican clubs until final


Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew will face off in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and while that draw might seem unfair to MLS, the rest of the tournament's quarterfinal draw was actually very promising for the MLS sides.

All four Mexican teams left in the draw were placed on the same side of the bracket, meaning the winner of the RSL-Columbus quarterfinal will take on the winner of the CD Olimpia-Deportivo Saprissa quarterfinal in the semis.

Here are the quarterfinal match-ups:

Monterrey vs. Toluca, Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul

Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew, CD Olimpia vs. Deportivo Saprissa

The quarterfinals begin with the first legs being played on February 22-24, with the return legs being played on March 15-17. Columbus will play host to RSL on the opening week of the quarterfinals.

What do you think of the draw? Glad to see the MLS squads separated from the Mexican clubs? Can you see one of the MLS clubs lifting the Champions League trophy?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Tim

    This is good. Both MLS teams will be in their preseason and won’t have to face different opposition in the middle of its season. At least one MLS team will advance to the semifinals. If it advances to the final, it will have many games under its belt and be better equipped to challenge a Mexican team for a spot in the world tournament. It would be great to see an MLS team in that tournament.


  • Paul C

    I wonder if an MLS side winning the trophy in todays era is exactly what this competition needs to make the rest of MLS take the tournament seriously?

    It’s been what 10 years now since my Gals took it? Think of how much further the league, fan base etc. have come in that time..


  • Ccl

    Winning concacaf ccl is a prerequisite to entrance into the copa libratadores which I beleive should be mls s main target for the next twenty to 30 years a good run and tradition of victory against our western hemisphere neighbors is exactly what we need to eventually make soccer one of the biggest sports in USA. World cup comes every 4 years but libratadores comes every year. Maybe mls should change the schedule in the next few years to be in better line with Mexico and European leagues ie summers off play through winter


  • 42074523489523

    Anyone watching the West Brom – Blackpool game see the American and confederate flags behind the goal? What is that about


  • jb

    Was bummed when I first read the MLS teams played each other, but after seeing the rest of the draw I like it. Gotta like RSL chances to get to the final, or if the Crew can regain their early-season form, them as well. MLS respect will reach a new level if they can start beating the mexican clubs in big matches.


  • Robert

    could it be that concacaf was tired of only mexican teams in the final and rigged it to guarantee a non mexican team in the final


  • TJ

    sure – come on up to Toronto in January! sounds like an amazing time to play…*rolls eyes*


  • WeatherManNX01

    Wow…could you imagine if an MLS team wins the Champions League? That would put them into the FIFA Club World Cup. The idea blows the mind…


  • BenH

    Wouldn’t that put a hole in every conspiracy theorist who always complains about CONCACAF and CONCACAF refs hating us?


  • Will

    exactly what happened…needed something to draw some attention to this and 4 mexican teams in the semis will not


  • Edwin in LA

    Not only does it put them in FIFA Club World Cup, they could end up playing the likes of a great African or Asian team to establish a dominance there, and then who knows a match in semis vs Internacional from Brazil, Estudiantes, Boca & River if they get back to that level, Corinthias, Santos. Or if they draw in the European side they could play a Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United, AC Milan, Chelsea etc

    I just hope Real Salt lake keep their pieces and improve depth or weak spots, they could use better wingers or faster more offensive capable but great at defensing full backs to attack the flanks, which is what kills the Mexican clubs specially if you attack the areal game, it’s like set pieces but better! :-)


  • Neruda

    No matter what happens to RSL in the MLS playoffs, Kreis will put all his resources into the CCL. It’s another chance for him to make more history as a young American coach.


  • Less clear than US Open Cup seeding

    Sounds like CONCACAF is trying to generate interest in local markets by grouping teams by region/rivalry. It certainly isn’t based on any kind of ranking or seeding. This does give Columbus and RSL the easiest path to the semi finals any MLS team has seen in CCL.


  • whatever

    i like that its rigged. after the group stages, teams should be paired based on region (aslong as it a 1st vs a 2nd).


  • Steve

    If a MLS club makes it to the FIFA Club WC, I’m going to be there. Who wants to come with to Japan?


  • Edwin in LA

    LOL 2 years ago I would of said yeah but it’s at UAE now or United Arab Emirates.

    Dubai I believe.


  • timothy

    How are people happy about this? Most likely the winner plays Saprissa, a very tough team to beat. They’ve won this tournament more than any other team left


  • Chaz

    This groups should be divided more evenly. Saprissa has a cakewalk while the other group has Monterrey, Cruz Azul and Santos?
    Needless to say the two best teams will not be playing the final.


  • Modibo

    Wow, sloooowwww down World Conqueror. The one good thing about this draw is that RSL and Columbus will both be in preseason form in February, and so MLS’s entire hopes won’t be dashed by the semis… but I wouldn’t want to be going into Saprissa on preseason form whenever the semis will be played (though actually the season will be much closer its start at that point).


  • Vince Clortho

    They had to pair 2nd place teams with first place teams (group phase results) so the bracket isn’t that surprising is it?


  • Lil' Zeke

    Ives, out of curiosity about what percentage of the time have our domestic teams dodged a jinx like “MLS avoids Mexican clubs until final”?


  • Dudeinho

    Kries reminds me of that young aussie coach from the A-league that took an Adielade United side to a AFC champions League Final. That then Quallfied them to the club world cup. Arelio something is his name.if RSL win this thing that in itself is an achievement even though its rigged


  • DaveW

    Actually, CCL is Concacaf version of Libertadores, and the winner of each regional confederation’s club championship goes to the Club World Cup.

    Aside, I personally feel it is inappropriate for any confederation to invite outside teams to any confederation competition. (As far as I know, only Conmebol still does this.)


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