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CONCACAF Champions League: Your Running Commentary


D.C. United is taking on Costa Rican power Deportivo Saprissa tonight in CONCACAF Champions League action at RFK Stadium, while USL-1 force Puerto Rico Islanders are taking on Tauro FC (the same club that eliminated Chivas USA). If you are watching either of these matches, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the matches.


  1. Why doesn’t the USL system just adopt promotion/relegation and petition to be recognized as the top league? The fans clearly want promotion, and there are enough positive results for USL sides that it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility for them to get the designation.

  2. Whoever calls the soccer in the Champion’s League dull probably isn’t watching it. First off, the play is much faster in these matches than league play. The thing that makes these tournaments painful to watch isn’t the play, it’s the fact that MLS clubs get taught lessons by the ‘supposedly’ less talented clubs.

    Yet, if you’ve really been watching these games, we’re often destroyed by wicked shots that you rarely see coming in MLS games.

    These tournaments have so much potential. And, MLS should be buying these damn players from these clubs once they have more money and roster space because their ball skills are often superior to those in MLS.

    And, it’s very true that people who bash MLS for not being good enough to watch, have ammunition after these performances. And, you know what? I’m starting to believe that MLS isn’t even as good as some of these other leagues. It’s certainly not as good as the Mexican League.

    And, we’ll continue to get just 4,000 fans to these matches (which often have better play than MLS because at least one teams really wants it) if MLS clubs don’t stop treating it as a nuisance.

    This was another embarrassing performance for MLS. I mean, Puerto Rico and Montreal got through. New England? Trounced. Chivas? Rolled over. Need I go on?

  3. DCU has already qualified for CCL 09/10 as Open Cup champions so what is there to gain from not using this year as meaningful challenge to build upon?

    The simple fact is that the purple monster is a regional powerhouse and favorite to win over DC in any fight, so odds of 4.5/1 offer excellent value.

    I thought the match was an indication of the generally higher standard of the Costa Ricans and why DC will depend heavily on the players with real pedigree (Moreno, Emilio, Fred and Gallardo) to be successful on the bigger stage of the Concacaf CL – Quaranta will grow from exposure to this level but he doesn’t influence the game enough yet for anyone to expect him to be the main creative spark in the team.

    I think the CCL is a great format which will sort out the men from the boyzzz, fans and administrators need to wake up to the opportunity!

  4. The MLS teams are not making a convincing message that those who follow foreign leagues here in the US should devote more of their football allocated time to MLS.

    Although it has to be said that DC United could have put a few goals in. Saprissa was rather defensive, but devastating in their finishing.

  5. I am still happy with the $135 on a $30 wager I won on Saprissa… I know that all this boils down to the MLS not letting any teams have squad depth but playing a match is not going to kill the first teamers. When we were all kids we sometimes played 5 matches in a weekend tournament… The boys need to toughen up a bit, I think.

  6. While it’s always good to see them lose, this is actually bad news for the Red Bulls. Here’s why. DC United pretty much sent a message–they’re saving their first team for the MLS season for the playoff push.

    And let’s face it–the primary competition that the Red Bulls face for the playoffs is DC United. If United was focused on the Concacaf Champions League, than there would be a greater chance they wouldn’t have the horses for the MLS regular season. United has 11 matches remaining in 30 days but only 5 of those are in MLS and 3 of them are in the West (Chivas, FCD, LAG). While the Red Bulls only have 6 matches left, all are in MLS, and potentially none are easy (at Chicago, 2 against the Crew, at RSL, the Toronto match with them fighting for a playoff chance and Colorado who is weak on the road but hot at the moment are the weakest of the two).

    Ideally, what the Red Bulls would want is the following:

    –either DC United focused on the Champions League (and inevitably their league play would suffer).

    –Or DC United beats upon the Western teams which insures 5 Eastern teams make the playoffs. And then you have to argue whether it’s better to be the 5th Eastern team (and go out West to play Houston but a weak conference) or have to knock heads with NE, Columbus and Chicago (who’ve been arguably the 3 best teams in MLS season-long).

  7. Well, there are a few reasons why I think CONCACAF Champions League is a failure for MLS so far:

    1. MLS does not respect or honor international match dates when they make their schedule. This is HUGE.

    2. Because of #1 above, the MLS teams have to rest their best players, or ones that would normally play through an injury, for the “more important” league matches.

    3. Because of #1 above, the players that do play are not in the best form due to fatigue.

    The big solution to this problem is for MLS to realize that they must start taking into consideration the international match schedule.

    I also think introducing the possibility of relegation would give clear and obvious meainig to these matches, and rev up the importance of MLS league matches…good luck EVER seeing that.

  8. Montreal played 4 games in 6 days two weeks ago culminating in a trip to play Real Esteli in Central America, and they won and advanced. The excuses of MLS teams are wearing thin. Montreal also was fighting its way back into the playoffs at that point also, so it is not like their league matches were meaningless.

    Houston will do better in this tournament, I promise. But those of us who have watched this league since 1996 expect the highest standard from DC and this year in both the CCC and CCL we didn’t get it. Montreal doesn’t have too many familiar names (Matt Jordan is a notable exception) so I’m more focused on Puerto Rico of the USL sides who has so many quality former MLS players, and also Colin Clarke who for my money was one of the best managers in MLS before he was sacked.

  9. Hey Andy, wanna know why DC is treating this tournament “like a bitch?”

    Try because we have a bunch of injuries and have to play 12 games in 44 days. Mostly starting guys like Rod Dyacenko, who can’t score on an open net. So if we take this tournament “like a bitch,” it’s because we don’t want to take on meaningful games (i.e. MLS league games) shortstaffed and tired.

    Posted by: Kevin | September 16, 2008 at 10:12 PM


    Kev. Way before I fell in love with Puerto Rico Islanders, I loved my local side, DC United. So,as a former card carrying Screaming Eagle and DC United fan since the inaugural season, please take this in the spirit that I am offering it.

    Islanders have less resources. Montreal has less resources. Both teams are in the middle of their playoof push. Both teams had to play a lot of games to make it this far for the CCL. Both of the USL teams are tired as well.

    Of course out DC boys are tired. It is a very demanding shcedule that they have this year. But that is the price of success.

    As my good friend BoriQa and others have pointed out, Islanders FC have played 7 games in 21 days. They have played in Puerto Rico, USA, Canada and Costa Rica. That is a lot of travel. And their results have been excellent. There have been no excuses about being tired. Their travel arrangements are inconvienent because their coin is limited(very often they don’t have direct flights and they have big layover times). Same goes for the hotels that they stay in. The ground transpo is really basic. We’re talking a few vans on away games.

    Several players have had additional travel and missed time for national team duties.

    Clarke has managed to juggle the lineup, masterfully so.

    Islanders and Clarke have demonstrated something that I would expect from my DC side but have yet to see so far. Depth and a resolve to win. Islanders have “overachieved” (not really in my mind but in the mind because I know the quality of the side that we field butint the mind of most of the pundits). DCU has underachieved.

    Part of the reward for their success and ambition is that the Islanders now have more countries to visit and high quality sides to face as we try and win the USL1 title (after hopefully nailing down the USL1 Commissioner’s Cup for winning the regular season).

    On a final note: a potential berth to the World Club championship makes this tournament anything but “meaningless”…

    DC United is the most celebrated side in MLS’ brief history. With that comes additional “burdens” and challenges.

    ¡Vamos United!

    ¡Vamos Islanders!

  10. “Wake up…it’s called the US Open Cup”

    If I’m recalling correctly Seattle Sounders beat Chivas, Crystal Palace Baltimore beat NYRB, Charleston Battery beat Houston Dynamo and if not for the goal post would have taken a 2-1 lead into half time against DC United. They lost 2-1 but outplayed DC for a large portion of the game.

  11. It was not only the Puerto Rico Islanders’ 4th match of the month, but the 4th consecutive win:

    Sep 3: PRI 2-1 Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (Costa Rica)

    Sep 5: PRI 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps

    Sep 12: PRI 2-0 Rochester Rhinos

    Sep 16: PRI 2-1 Tauro FC (Panama)

  12. “There is no way of knowing if some random USL team in America is better than DC United or Houston.”

    Wake up…it’s called the US Open Cup.

  13. All of this is an argument for promotion and relegation with the USL.

    Yeah, spare me the reasons why it can’t work/happen.

    The reality is every league in our region has it and that is why the teams that go to these competitions truly are the best. There is no way of knowing if some random USL team in America is better than DC United or Houston.

  14. Playing a bunch of games doesn’t seem to bother the USL teams

    That was Puerto Rico’s 4th match in since the beginning of the month and 7th match in 20 days, then they have another 3 matches scheduled by this time next week.

    So they will have played 10 times in less than a month at that point.

    I’ve got the world’s tiniest violin for the MLS teams that constantly embarrass our national league system on the continental (and international) level.

  15. Yeah but at least DC despite their injuries and other troubles played a spirited match befitting of this tournament and did not embarrass themselves the way New England did.

    Peter Villegas, former Metro fan fave is now wearing the armband for the Islanders. Why, I wonder did Colin Clarke give him the armband for this Champions League match taking it away from Noel who captained the team in every USL game I’ve watched this year and earlier in this tournament. Anyone have a clue why? I’m interested in Clarke’s thinking.

  16. When CCL was created, everyone was saying that it was a Mickey Mouse tournament, since everyone “knew” that it was going to come down to FMF and MLS clubs anyways (including myself). I know that it has been one preliminary round and just one game into the group stage, but I truly have to admit this is Mexico’s competition to lose.

  17. Nice pipe dream this CCL is, but this tourney is not interesting at all. Why have MLS teams participate and charge their fans full ticket prices for dull soccer? Boring.

  18. MLS should not use the “we dont take this tourney serious” as an excuse. It just shows that MLS is a league that still needs to develop. We need to have a competant bench that can play and rest the better players.

    I can rationally say that FMF teams are deeper than MLS teams.

  19. Hey Andy, wanna know why DC is treating this tournament “like a bitch?”

    Try because we have a bunch of injuries and have to play 12 games in 44 days. Mostly starting guys like Rod Dyacenko, who can’t score on an open net. So if we take this tournament “like a bitch,” it’s because we don’t want to take on meaningful games (i.e. MLS league games) shortstaffed and tired.

  20. Knowing of course that MLS does not take this seriously… I placed a very nice wager on Saprissa tonight @ 4.5/1 and stand to make a happy profit. Thanks for treating CONCACAF like a bitch DC…

  21. It’s now 2-0 Saprissa.

    I don’t recognize some of the players starting for DC: Boyzzz Khumalo and Craig Thompson. Emilio left at halftime.


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