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MLS-Mexican showdown: Forces not in Crew's favor
by Paul Kennedy, March 9th, 2010 12:36AM

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TAGS:  columbus crew, concacaf champions league, mexico, mls

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[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The Columbus Crew, the lone MLS team still alive in the Concacaf Champions League, faces a tall order when it begins its quarterfinal series at home against Mexico's Toluca Tuesday (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live, 8 pm ET). Columbus will be without star Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who is suspended. Also unavailable will be two starting defenders, Chad Marshall (hamstring injury) and Franky Hejduk (suspension).

It's unlikely the Crew will have much of a home-field advantage, at least based on recent form and the current weather.

Since its 24-game unbeaten streak at Crew Stadium was broken, Columbus has lost four straight games at home, most notably a 3-2 defeat to Real Salt Lake in the MLS playoffs.

Unseasonably moderate temperatures shouldn't bother Toluca.

History is not on the Crew's side, either.

-- It lost to Cruz Azul twice (4-0 and 2-0) in group play of the 2009-10 competition;

-- MLS teams have lost 10 of 11 two-leg knockout series to Mexican teams in Concacaf's top club competition. (The only MLS team to win its two-leg Concacaf series is Kansas City, which beat Santos in the 2002 quarterfinals.)

The Crew is coming off a strong preseason campaign, however. It's unbeaten in eight games with five wins and three ties.

Other Concacaf quarterfinals:

Wednesday:
MARATHON-UNAM (Galavision, live) 8 pm ET.
COMUNICACIONES-PACHUCA (Galavision, live) 10 pm ET.

Thursday:

ARABE UNIDO-CRUZ AZUL (TeleFutura, live) 8 pm ET.



0 comments
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: March 9, 2010 at 8:33 a.m.
    While it's nice to say the Crew have an unbeaten record so far, let's not confuse preseason matches with actual competitive league games... it's a simple fact but the teams that MLS face are well and truly in the middle of their respective seasons and they SHOULD be able to beat our teams in that situation. Add to this that the Mexican League PAYS MUCH BETTER than most other leagues in North OR South America and it would be a real stretch to expect our teams to beat their teams with any sort of regularity... it might happen, but it certainly be an upset.

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: March 9, 2010 at 8:34 a.m.
    Sorry for the typo..."would" be an upset

  1. Ted Westervelt
    commented on: March 9, 2010 at 10:34 a.m.
    What's the point of MLS clubs being in this competition again? After carefully managing and controlling clubs to randomize domestic match outcomes, why is our entitled first division sending debilitated clubs into international play? It's time for another schism in American socces. One in which MLS can take their domestic parity party out of a structure designed to incentivize clubs to build the best teams they can, and end this masochism. Time for MLS to be honest, relinquish their first div entitlement, and open the pyramid to clubs who would use it to great effect. Playing off season is the least of their problems.

  1. Dennis Mulqueen
    commented on: March 9, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.
    First division entitlement builds stadiums and attracts fans.1988 saw the USA chosen for the 1994 site of the World Cup with the creation of a USA professional league mandated.MLS debuted in 1996.The unparalleled success of the USA National Teams (both men and woman) is due to this.It has been 32 years since 1988;just imagine what can happen in the next 32 years,perhaps even the pyramid with a debt to entitlement. .

  1. Dennis Mulqueen
    commented on: March 9, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.
    Sorry, 22years!

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: March 9, 2010 at 5:53 p.m.
    It's great to see MLS teams competing with Central American Clubs but I feel that they'll never get a fair calling from ANY ConCaCaf Ref. I have watched many of the Televised games whether it be the US Mens National Team or the MLS teams. The Refs are always in favor of the Central American teams which at any point can make or break a team leaving an unfair disadvantage to MLS or US National team players!


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