By DAN KARELL
Major League Soccer didn’t have the best of nights on Thursday with both the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo losing, but the league will have a chance to make up for it in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal round.
All three American teams who qualified for the knockout rounds were paired with clubs from Mexico including the Los Angeles Galaxy taking on nearby Club Tijuana, giving Tijuana’s Herculez Gomez another chance to show his skill in front of an MLS audience in the CCL for the third consecutive season.
The other pairings include Sporting Kansas City and Cruz Azul, the San Jose Earthquakes and Toluca, as well as Arabe Unido and Alajuelense. The matches are scheduled to take place next March, with the first leg on March 11/12 and the second leg on March 18/19.
CONCACAF confirmed the pairings on Friday morning.
It’s the first time that both Sporting KC and the Earthquakes are in the CCL under it’s current format, though the Earthquakes did make the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Cup in 2004 and Sporting KC played in the SuperLiga in 2009. The Galaxy advanced to the semifinals of the last edition of the CCL before bowing out against eventual champions Monterrey.
For Tijuana, it’s their first time in the CCL but they’ll use the experience gained from their impressive run in the Copa Libertadores last spring to help them next March. Gomez in particular has been lethal in the competition in the last three years for Santos Laguna and Xolos, scoring 12 goals in 17 matches.
An MLS team has yet to win the competition under it’s current format, with Real Salt Lake coming the closest in 2011 before falling to Humberto Suazo and Monterrey.
Playing without three of their best players in Brad Davis, Jermaine Taylor, and Oscar Boniek Garcia on Thursday evening, the Dynamo fell 1-0 to Panamanian side Arabe Unido thanks to a tap-in in the 61st minute by Unido’s Jose Gonzalez. The result places Arabe Unido in the knockout stages of the competition and leaves Major League Soccer with three teams in the next round.
Meanwhile in El Salvador, the already-clinched Los Angeles Galaxy were on the wrong side of a 4-0 scoreline to Isidro Metapan on Thursday evening.
With a reserve-laden squad in El Salvador, the Galaxy were no match for the home side as Nicolas Muñoz scored a hat-trick in four minutes and rounded off his night with four first half goals as the Galaxy couldn’t keep up with the veteran forward.
What did you think of these matchups? Looking forward to the Galaxy facing Tijuana? Do you see any of the MLS teams defeating their Mexican opposition? Which team stands the best chance of advancing?
Share your thoughts below.
The home and home series with TJ and the Galaxy. The first international freeway series!
I expect TJ to have an advantage with their artificial turf and the fact that the Galaxy usually play these CCL games on a weekday at the SHC, which limits the number of cars that can park at CSUDH while classes are in session. The Galaxy got around that last year by arranging parking at a local mall and busing the fans about 2 miles to the game. I will be interesting to see which teams fields the most American players (lol) The galaxy usually field
The Mexican teams will win because they play superior soccer (period).
No more Monterrey miracles. Like the end of an era. (The Sounders-Monterrey games were epic)
None of those teams is unbeatable by LA and KC, plus San Jose has the type of team the Mexicans will hate to face. Good in the air, rougher than rough ( too physical for most soccer fans ), etc.
Mexican teams will be favored obviously, but only the trolls, whining non-stop, will not enjoy this year’s playoffs.
So upset at Arabe Unido for their time wasting, the ref for adding only 4 minutes and not controlling the time wasting, but perhaps even more so at Houston Dynamo for not showing that they cared. I understand the DC match is on Sunday, but still. As a RBNY fan, I will be rooting for DC to beat them by 3. I am that upset.
I am done wasting my time watching these games. What i saw last night could not even be called professional sport. A complete joke.
The biggest problem is MLS teams have to play in Pre Season form. While Mexican teams will be mid season. Big disadvantage for MLS.
The Mexican teams will win because they play superior soccer (period).
MLS can look completely different next year. The TV contracts are up, new collective bargaining agreement, so to say MLS can not win it next year is a stretch. Its a stretch, because I simply don’t know what MLS will look like.Tijuana didn’t look that group, except one game in the group stages. The best team in Mexico, America, didn’t even make it to the group stages.
anyone that watches Liga MX can tell that both Toluca and Cruz Azul look stronger than America right now, difference is that America gets a lot of help from the refs in Mexico.
tijuana will massacre galaxy on their plastic home advatange.
cruz azul is full of talent.
toluca is know for always loosing in international tournaments, so there is a slim chance but toluca will beat their ass.
Tijuana will win this tournament 😉
Will Tijuana massacre the Galaxy more than you massacre the english language??
Even with int’l level talent like Corona, Castillo, Arriola & Fernando Arce, Club Tijuana hasn’t been the same team since Jorge Almiron took over (they’re in 12th place right now in the table). If LA took a full-strength squad to this series, they could take ’em.
and Monterrey was 10th place when they knocked LA last tournament
True, I’ll concede that. But still, would you rather have Antonio Mohamed or Almiron as your coach going into CCL?
of course I would choose Mohamed, the guy made Tijuana play like if they were a powerhouse and almost got them to the semis of the Libertadores (terrible luck with that PK), with him they would probably breeze through the CCL but still I consider this version of Xolos equal or even a better team than LA.
Donovan had just come back from Cambodia. It took him another 2 months to get going in MLS. Who knows what might of happened had he been there from the beginning (in form) . Also let’s not forget how the Galaxy squandered that lead at home. Point is… if MLS allows their teams to take this tournament seriously, anything can happen.
Note: Would be kind of funny if Paul Arriola ran circles on the Galaxy considering how Bruce Arena told Paul he would not see much 1st team playing time had he stuck with LA.
Really, Dynamo? Way to represent the league, being knocked out by a team from Panama.
Club America got knock out this year, Chivas the year before got knock out by a Guatemala team, is that bringing down Liga MX?
The CCL is a complete waste of time. Good teams don’t bring their best player and home crowds don’t show up. The only thing I gained from watching the Galaxy play last night was the knowledge that LA’s subs aren’t that good and crickets do indeed live in El Salvador.
Waching LA get owned by Monterrey last tournament was a lot of fun.
LA Galaxy got owned by Monterrey? LA GALAXY lost their focus, then lost their league, after they dominated Monterrey for almost the entire game. Then at Monterrey they lost 1-0, yet that’s domination?
Lead at home, not league* sorry.
Sure!!! LA lost home and away to a team that couldn’t even make the playoffs in Liga MX. Losing two out of two is called getting dominated
Losing two out of two is not domination, if that’s domination to you, you don’t know the meaning of the word. That beating Man City got by Bayern in the UCL, was domination. Also while Monterrey didn’t make the Liga MX playoffs, considering how much stock you put into a split season, they were the current CCL champions. Twice beating Santos Laguna, to win the title.
I agree, it can all be sumed up with the following phrase:
“The Mexican teams will win because they play superior soccer (period).”
LA lost, but if you watched the game you should know it was evenly matched until subs were made after the 60th minute. That’s where MLS teams will also lose against Mexican competition. MLS teams inherently lack depth due to the salary cap. It’s a systemic disadvantage that’ll continue to hinder our progress in CCL.
The problem is he didn’t watch the match, which is why he think LA Galaxy got dominated.
The problem for MLS teams in Concacaf is that they are cowards when they play away and at home they play like they deserve to be favored like European teams. Having said that, all I have left to say is the Mexican teams will win because they play superior soccer (period).
I did watch the games. I remember Omar Gonzalez watching DeNigris score from the best seat in the house and Keane diving and whining all game long while getting absolutely dominated by Basanta.
Let’s face it, if a Mexican team wants it there is nothing MLS can do about it.
Tijuana is known for going after international tournaments which makes them the favorite….unless another Mexican teams goes for it.
LA Galaxy dominated that match, especially Kean. LA Galaxy should have scored more goals, their inability to put the game away pave way for Monterrey to win that game. However for the most part LA Galaxy dominated.
Call it what you want, the fact is Monterrey beat LA twice in a row, home and away and it doesn’t matter how much money you spend if you go after players like Keane. He may look great in MLS, but he just doesn’t belong against the Mexican teams.
Monterrey scored those goals when the subs came on the pitch. Landon Donovan and Keane had their way with Monterrey, and like I said missed chances. When you let a team hang around, it come to bit you in the you know what. Again the first win is on the Galaxy, the second Monterrey win was them taking care of business at home, something they did against Santos Laguna as well, a team that was better then them in league play.
As for Tijuana, they looked horrible the entire group stages, except one game. With an Off season to bring in more players, with MLS salary cap more then likely given a boost, LA Galaxy will be a hard team to beat.
I could be mistaken, but isn’t this only the second international tournament The Xolos have been in?
Speak for yourself about the waste of time and not showing up.
I have seen Monterrey Sounders, plus many other great games, cost me $15….best value I have ever spent and I have gone to thousands of games across many sports.
Sure there were only 15-20k there, but that is the id iots who don’t shows problem, not mine.
Just mail the trophy to Mexico and get it over with.
yes, but which city?
This year I’m going to go with Tijuana. They seem to have the easiest path to the final.
You think LA Galaxy are a easy path? Let me remind you more then likely the MLS will look different next year, with new deals on the way. This was already hinted at by Bruce Arena, when he said “they will have a new team next year”. I expect big signing from MLS clubs in the off season, and the Galaxy will attract names.
the deals/(TV, CBA) you speak of are a year away after 2014 season and since LA is out of DP slots i’m not sure what big deals LA can pull off
You’re just trolling now.
Defeatism 101 right here.
its already in Mexico!
just drive it down to Estadio Azul.
So it can be awarded to the team that beats Cruz Azul in the final, lol