The reason for the exodus of Colombian players to MLS is answered in part by the poor economic conditions they face at home. Champion Once Caldas, coached by former MLS coach Juan Carlos Osorio, owes its players $600,000 in wages and social security payments and has been given a week to pay up or face a 30-day suspension.
There was talk that players would not travel to Peru for the deciding group game against Universidad San Martin in the Libertadores Cup competition, but Once Caldas, the 2004 South Americans champion, won, 2-0, to clinch second place in Group 1 behind already-qualified Libertad of Paraguay.
Last week, Quindio was handed a 30-day ban but the suspension was lifted when it agreed to pay part of the back wages. It was forced to field youth players against Millonarios -- and lost, 5-0 -- when its players struck.