Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Five MLS teams vie for regional crown
by Ridge Mahoney, August 16th, 2011 2:09AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

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
What They're Saying: Gary Lineker    
"After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, ...
Video Pick: Messi-like golazo by Barcelona youth    
In UEFA Youth League play, 17-year-old Barcelona striker Jordi Mboula scored a spectacular solo goal in ...
What They're Saying: Roy Keane    
"No way Wayne Rooney should be going to China. He can still play football at the ...
What They're Saying: Josh Mitchell    
"We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was an incredible experience to be playing ...
MLS Camp Chatter: Atlanta United shows off weapons    
Atlanta United got goals from all three Designated Players -- including goals from Josef Martinez in ...
Sneak Peek: Union coach Curtin promises 'fun'    
Philadelphia reached the playoffs for just the second time in its history last year and exited ...
Sneak Peek: Near-miss ramps up expectations for TFC    
Less than three months after breaking through as the first Canadian team to play in the ...
Sneak Peek: Quakes seek help for Wondo    
It's been rough going for the San Jose Earthquakes since they won the Supporters' Shield in ...
CCL: More frustration for New York Red Bulls    
Playing their first game ever in the knockout stage of the Concacaf Champions League against the ...
TV Report: MLS regional broadcast deals announced    
MLS teams are starting to announce regional television plans for the 2017 season. Houston and Sporting ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives