• Tuesday Oct 20, 2015

    New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas earn SCCL spots

    Sacha Kljestan (white jersey) clears the ball for the New York Red Bulls during their Major League Soccer game against the visiting Philadelphia Union on October 18, 2015, in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo: Mike Lawrence/isiphotos.com)

    HARRISON, New Jersey -- The New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas secured places in the next Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) by clinching Major League Soccer’s Eastern and Western Conference crowns, respectively, this weekend. 

    New York booked a spot for the second time in three years thanks to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Union on Sunday, while Dallas posted a 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake a day earlier.

    "I am excited about that, I really am," Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles said. "I know that Jesse's [Marsch, head coach] going to take this tournament seriously. Next year, when we start preseason, and we do our goals, winning CONCACAF is going to be one of our priorities, one of our biggest priorities.

    "For us to be able to qualify, to make that step forward is not only great for the players, but for the organization."

    Before the Red Bulls can think about participating in the SCCL, some additional domestic business must be first addressed. They can secure a second Supporters Shield title (overall regular-season championship) in three years when they visit the Chicago Fire on Sunday. New York and Dallas are tied for the Shield lead with 57 points on the strength of identical 17W-6D-10L records.

    The Red Bulls left no doubt against Philadelphia as Mike Grella scored the fastest goal in league history seven seconds into the game, the first of his two tallies

    They began the year in some degree of upheaval after popular head coach Mike Petke was fired. High-profile players such as Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill had left as the club worked with a smaller budget.

    Their success has surprised some pundits.

    "Not much was expected out of this team and we had to buy into the mentality that no one was going to give us anything in this league," said captain Dax McCarty. "We're going to have to work for every single point we get and it's not going to be one, two, three players that are going to be saving the team. It's going to have to be a total team effort.

    "We have a chance to do something special here."

    A 57th minute goal by David Texeira was enough for FC Dallas to take three points against Real Salt Lake, a team hoping to reach the quarterfinals of the current SCCL, and merit the praise of head coach Oscar Pareja.

    “The team won a game they needed to win,” said the former Colombia international. “I’m very proud of these young men and the willingness they have to win.”

    2016/17 SCOTIABANK CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

    Qualifiers

    Canada (1/1): Vancouver Whitecaps

    USA (3/4): FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City

     

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