• Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

    ANALYSIS: Changes have made CCL tighter

     

     BIO
    Brian Dunseth is a former professional player who serves as a play-by-play announcer and analyst on CONCACAF Champions League TV partner the Fox Soccer Channel in the United States. He played 171 games in eight years in Major League Soccer from 1997-2005 and was the captain of the U.S. Olympic team that finished fourth at the Sydney Games.
     

    By Brian Dunseth
    CONCACAF.com Guest Analyst

    We saw the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals start to fill the past two weeks, with three teams clinching berths and the rest of the field getting whittled down.

    Give credit to the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and reigning two-time champion Monterrey for doing the business early and making sure they didn't find themselves chasing the final game in the Group Stage in hopes of making it to the next round.

    Think about this: Seattle has three wins, nine points and a plus-five goal difference; Monterrey has three wins and a plus-nine goal difference. Both are through to the quarterfinals.

    The difference between Monterrey, Seattle and Los Angeles as opposed to Santos Laguna and Herediano (who are also both undefeated) could be attributed to the relative strength -- or weakness -- of the individual groups and the head-to-head tiebreaker rules.

    In Group 1, Santos Laguna sits atop with three wins and a plus-11 goal difference. But because Aguila has struggled so mightily this time around (four losses and a minu-16 goal difference), Toronto FC still has an opportunity to bypass Santos Laguna with a lopsided win in Torreon. The chances of that happening though with the strength of Santos' squad depth? Unlikely.

    How about Group 2 with Herediano sitting atop with three wins and a plus-three goal difference? It still must play Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium - where RSL has won six of its last seven - in the group finale. Salt Lake can advance with a 1-0 victory, or a two-goal win.

    The good news for the Costa Rican side - no Alvaro Saborio for RSL as the Costa Rican international, who has scored 10 goals in the Champions League over two seasons but is suspended because of accumulated yellow cards.

    The biggest disappointment though in terms of teams that just haven't gotten it done? That has to be Chivas de Guadalajara - which has won only one of three matches, has four points and a plus-three goal difference. Three points behind Xelaju in Group 8, it still is alive and can advance with a simple 1-0 win at home on October 25.

    But why has it found itself in this situation? A loss in Guatemala and a draw in Trinidad have done the trick.

    And Tigres in Group 6? One win at home and two draws on the road means that their final game at home against Alajuelense is a must win.

    Did you ever think that with the changes to the Champions League this year that you would see two Mexican teams facing a must-win situation on the final day of matches - and a third still not mathematically assured?

    A perfect example of why these adjustments to the format have made the tournament better.

  • Champions League

    Related News



RELATED NEWS YOU'LL LIKE

Herediano signs Martinez, Leiton

Costa Rican champion Herediano announced Monday that forward Josue Martinez and midfielder Jose Leiton will join the squad for the 2016 Invierno.

Ottawa Fury ready for next Canadian Championship hurdle

It took three tries, but Ottawa Fury FC is finally through to the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals for the first time. It now knows, however, that the task of lifting the trophy and securing a berth in the 2017/18 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League will become more difficult.

Official Draw Confirmed for the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League

May 30, Miami Beach event to be televised live on UDN

Scotiabank CCL field fills up, Monterrey returns

Club football took center stage throughout region over the weekend as five berths to the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League were earned, bringing the field to 22 teams, with two more qualifiers remaining to be decided.

Olimpia eyes Honduran title, SCCL return

Olimpia can capture its 30th Honduran title Sunday with a win or a draw against Real Sociedad in the second leg of the final at the Estadio Tiburcio Andino Carias.