Another year, another shutdown of Major League Soccer clubs by Liga MX in the CONCACAF Champions League.
If you haven’t been paying attention this week, here’s a quick rundown of the goings on: MLS supporters have seen several of the Revolution’s rivals bid adieu to the continental competition in the last couple of days. Reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United were the latest to bow out, thanks to a 3-1 aggregate defeat — that’s a scoreline spread out over two matches, by the way — at the hands of Monterrey on Wednesday. The night before, both Houston and New York Red Bulls found themselves knocked out by Tigres and Santos Laguna, respectively.
That leaves one MLS club in the competition, and that’s Sporting Kansas City, which takes a 2-1 deficit into the Blue Hell of Children’s Mercy Park against Panama’s Independiente de la Chorrera on Thursday evening. Should SKC advance, the new club of former Revs Kelyn Rowe, Krisztian Nemeth, and Seth Sinovic would then play Monterrey in the CCL semifinals in three weeks’ time.
And given what we’ve already seen this week, we’re pretty sure we already know that result.
The talk amongst the US soccer media and fans over the last few days has centered around MLS’ ineffective play against some of the best club football squads in our general region. While Atlanta and New York are two of the best MLS has to offer and are two incredibly talented squads, Liga MX has proven over the last decade that it is just that further ahead. And as has been beaten to death, MLS commish Don Garber has repeatedly stated that he wants MLS to be not only the top league in CONCACAF, but a top league around the world.
In order to do that, MLS clubs need to beat — regularly — the established Mexican powerhouse teams in the continental competition.
So how does that happen? The answers are not necessarily easy, and each has a challenging situation attached.
Here are two: