Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Five MLS teams vie for regional crown
by Ridge Mahoney, August 16th, 2011 2:09AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  concacaf champions league, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Real Salt Lake gave MLS a significant dose of respect within the Concacaf club hierarchy by reaching the Champions League final last April, in which it lost, 3-2, on aggregate to Mexican club Monterrey. With five teams in the group phase of the 2011-12 edition that kicks off Tuesday, and the glamorous Galaxy and defending league champion Colorado among the representatives, MLS can up its presence a notch by showing its depth extends beyond RSL, which didn’t qualify this time around.

Overall points leader Los Angeles and defending league champion Colorado highlight the five MLS entries in the Concacaf Champions League group phase.

GROUP A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has cited his pending opponents Alajauense (Costa Rica), Motagua (Honduras), and Morelia (Mexico) as the “group of death.” It is a tough group, certainly, with the Galaxy and Morelia generally regarded as the favorites.

Playing for Motagua are Guillermo “Pando” Ramirez, a Galaxy player when it last won the title in 2005, former MLS MVP Amado Guevara, and Ivan Guerrero (played for Chicago, D.C. United, San Jose, Colorado). The Galaxy also face the pressure of leading the overall MLS standings; it would stain the league’s image for its top team not to advance.

GROUP B. The Rapids open against Isidro Metapan of El Salvador, which is playing in its fourth consecutive edition of the competition. Colorado is treading new ground, and given its questionable depth, may be hard-pressed to emerge from a group that also included Santos Laguna of Mexico and Real Espana of Honduras. In its two CCL appearances, Santos has reached the quarterfinals twice and the semifinals once.

Colorado will rely on its speedy set of attackers – Omar Cummings, Sanna Nyassi, Macoumba Kandji – and its central midfield pairing of Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni. If it can make the Central Americans expend a lot of energy in the mile-high altitude of its home matches, and keeps things tight defensively, Colorado can get through.

GROUP C. FC Dallas and Toronto FC (which qualified as Canadian champion and beat Real Esteli of Nicaragua in a playoff) face Tauro FC (Panama) and Mexican giant UNAM (Pumas), with the Mexicans expected to advance along with FCD.

TFC opens against Tauro Thursday after FCD gets underway Wednesday in Mexico City. This is FCD’s first CCL venture, but it did look impressive while dispatching Alianza FC (El Salvador) with 1-0 victories home and away in the preliminary round.

The darkhorse in this group is TFC, which has woken up somewhat with the arrival of DPs Danny Koevermans and Torsten Frings, and is riding the rapid ascension of young Ecuadoran Joao Plata. Since it has nothing at stake in MLS unless it can win most of its remaining league games, the CCL is its chance to give something tangible to a fan base chafing at five playoff failures in as many MLS seasons.

GROUP D. The Sounders stumbled out of the group phase in the 2010-11 tournament with just one victory in six group matches. They are grouped with Herediano (Costa Rica), defending champion Monterrey, and Comunicaciones (Guatemala), against which they open Tuesday at CenturyLink Field.

In the past month or so Mauro Rosales has blossomed as an attacking force, which could open up space for Fredy Montero to produce consistently. Holding mid Osvaldo Alonso, whose dominating displays have evoked memories of his remarkable 2009 season, is an especially critical element against skillful, clever opponents and in hostile away environments. Also, Seattle didn’t take advantage of its artificial-turf surface last time; that failure cannot be repeated.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Nesta joins Maldini as head coach at Miami FC    
Miami is the home to retired Italian stars. It's been Paolo Maldini's second home for 15 ...
U.S. Abroad: Timothy Chandler needs knee surgery    
U.S, national team defender Timothy Chandler has been lost for the friendlies against Peru and Brazil ...
What They're Saying: Frank Lampard    
"I respect the manager for saying that. Managers and players should be emotional after defeats at ...
What They're Saying: Jason Kreis    
"We need to show - the players need to show - if they want to be ...
Klinsmann: 'This is about proving a point'    
The countdown to the Oct. 10 winner-take-all match against Mexico at the Rose Bowl began in ...
Video Pick: A well-hit own goal from Holland     
PSV's Jeffrey Bruma gave the keeper no chance when he met a cross from the right ...
MLS Weekend: Bottom feeders finish on top    
There is a big gap between MLS's two conferences -- the Western Conference is plus-14 in ...
Video Pick: How Johannsson scored his first Bundesliga goal    
U.S. national team forward Aron Johannsson, who joined Werder Bremen this season from Dutch club AZ ...
Crowd Count: Seattle draws 64,358 fans, tops in MLS    
The crowd of 64,358 for Sunday's Seattle-Portland match at CenturyLink Field was the largest of the ...
U.S. national team vets coming and going    
U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann named the initial squad of 23 players who will ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives