September 4, 2008

MLS 2, USL 2

Shockingly, the USL has just as many teams in the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League as Major League Soccer. Montreal did their business with a 0-0 draw away after winning 1-0 in the home leg. Puerto Rico definitely took the hard road, but made it work. After last week's thrilling match in Costa Rica, they gave up an early goal at home. The Islanders waited until the 87th minute to draw level, and extra time looked likely. However, a free kick was floated into the box, wasn't cleared, and Taiwo Atieno chested the ball down and slotted his shot just inside the post to complete the upset.

Even Christian Miles got a little excited, which is almost impossible.

There's all the talk about injuries and how MLS teams don't have enough depth because of the salary cap. Well, I can guarantee you that Puerto Rico doesn't have a payroll in the same league as MLS teams. Montreal spends a good bit of cash, but it's less than MLS squads. The Impact have also had their share of injuries, being forced to incorporate quite a few new faces into the starting lineup recently.

I couldn't really argue with you if you said that the USL coaches outworked the MLS coaches. The comments from Nicol and Revs' players made it clear that New England didn't care about their matches. That's embarrassing on the international stage. It's also a hollow excuse after you just got blasted 4-0 at home to a team from Trinidad. Chivas at least fought hard, but their mistakes in Panama made things almost impossible at home.

Colin Clarke, your record is wiped clean after those playoff failures in Dallas. What an incredible accomplishment!

Throw in Charleston's strong performance in the Open Cup final, and this was quite a week for the USL. Francisco Marcos should be pleased.

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