The CONCACAF Champions League groups are set with the qualifiers finally over.
By Allen Ramsey | Goal.com
Aug 9, 2010 1:07:00 PM
The CONCACAF Champions is all set for the group stage with four Major League Soccer teams – three representing the USA and one representing Canada – still alive and well. MLS could have had a fifth team involved, but the Los Angeles Galaxy couldn’t overturn a four goal home loss to Puerto Rico.
The Galaxy, widely considered one of the top teams in MLS, went to Puerto Rico and got at least some measure of revenge by beating the Islanders 2-1, but the result fell way short of what was needed.
The Seattle Sounders and Toronto F.C., the other two MLS clubs facing qualification matches last week, both managed road draws and clinched spots in the group stages.
Toronto got a favorable draw having been placed in Group A alongside Real Salt Lake and Arabe Unido with fellow qualifiers Cruz Azul, who hung six goals on San Francisco, as the clear group favorites.
For Seattle, the outlook is a bit different. The Sounders drew traditional powers from around the region in Costa Rica’s Saprissa, Honduras’ Marathon and Mexico’s Monterrey rounding out Group C.
Santos Laguna kept the Mexican dominance of the CCL in tact with a 5-0 drubbing of Jabloteh. Santos will join Columbus in Group B with fellow qualifiers Joe Public and Guatemalan champions Municipal.
Salvadorian champions C.D. FAS made the group stage with a 2-0 win over Guatemala’s Xelaju after settling for a draw in the first leg. FAS will be joined in Group D by Honduran giants Olimpia, Mexico’s Toluca and the Islanders, setting up some intriguing matches for the group stage.
The group stage is set to begin a week from Tuesday with Mexico and Major League Soccer as the two best represented leagues in the competition. But it’s been the Mexican squads that have dominated the competition in the first two years of the Champions League format with MLS still searching for its first semi-finalist.
In fact, since the begining of the CCL in 2008-2009, when the new format began, only one non Mexican squad has made the semi-final. That side, the Islanders, have already ejected one of the non-Mexican favorites and showed the kind of confidence that could lead to another deep run.