[WORLD VIEW] Say want you want about the 6-1 mauling the Seattle Sounders suffered at the hands of Santos in the Concacaf Champions League on Wednesday night in Mexico. Call them sloppy. Call them naive. The one thing you can't say about the Sounders was that they didn't go for it. They came to play in Torreon and created lots of chances for themselves. And paid the price when they weren't converted.
Other MLS teams have been crushed in Mexico before. But they never had a chance. Seattle was still in Wednesday's game up until Herculez Gomez's second goal made it 4-1 in the 67th minute. If Eddie Johnson had converted his chance a minute after he entered the game, the Sounders would have retaken the aggregate lead on the tiebreaker.
It says something about the progress that MLS clubs have made that Seattle tried to play in Mexico.
Indeed, all three MLS teams attacked on the road. Only Toronto FC was rewarded. Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata, Danny Koevermans and Nick Soolsmaand Luis Silva off the bench did enough attacking to beat the Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-1, on the road and move into the semifinals.
Like Seattle in Santos, the Galaxy was undone at home by some terrible defending. So much for the 1-0 wins that marked its 2011 championship season.
As disappointing as it is for the U.S. entrants go out, they have helped make the Concacaf Champions League a competition worth marking on the calendar and a nice accompaniment to MLS's First Kick.
The CCL still lacks the following of the UEFA Champions League or prestige of South America' Libertadores Cup. And it won't be taken seriously in the rest of the world until it is taken seriously in Mexico, which has produced every champion and 12 of the 16 semifinalists.
The importance Mexican clubs attach to the competition by playing their first teams has increased as has the media coverage south of the border, though it can still be better. Esto featured the Santos-Seattle game prominently on its Thursday cover, but Record, the other major sports daily, didn't even mention the game on the cover of its three regional editions.
The cynical view will be the seriousness that Concacaf clubs take their championship will be reflected in how defensively they play.
But for now, hats off to all involved for making this year's competition worth watching with goals, goals and more goals (see below). That's an important start.
Quarterfinals (goals per game)
4.63 2012 Concacaf Champions League
3.75 2011 AFC Champions League (Asia)
3.25 2011 UEFA Champions League (Europe)
2.50 2011 Libertadores Cup (South America)
Note:African Champions League knockout phase begins with semifinals