October 3, 2008

CONCACAF Champions League at the Halfway House

GROUP A

It's up for grabs as Cruz Azul, Saprissa, and Marathon are sitting on 6 points. DC United can only be a spoiler at this point while they try to concentrate on making the MLS playoffs. This has to be the most disappointing international campaign for DC United in their history.

I originally picked Cruz Azul and Saprissa, but I think Marathon is going to find their way into the quarterfinals. I'm just not sure who will be bounced. I think things might be tough for the Purple Monster...

GROUP B

Pumas looks to be fine, while it's a shootout for the second place spot. Houston hasn't lost, but they haven't won either. It could come down to that rescheduled game between Firpo and the Dynamo at the end of the round. San Francisco held draws at home with Pumas and Houston, but they don't have much offense to get points away.

GROUP C

Wow, Montreal could be making the biggest splash in the tournament. Their huge win in Honduras over Olimpia puts them in the driver's seat. Joe Public made things really interesting last night with their upset in Cancun over Atlante. I'd still have to put my money down on Atlante to advance, but they really need to pick it up. One goal in three games isn't going to cut it.

GROUP D

This table is upside down, right? Puerto Rico and Tauro on top? No way!!!??? Well, yeah, that's what happened so far. Santos has been very disappointing, while Municipal hasn't done much of anything. I think one of the top two will go through, but which one? As shocked as I am, I'm going to say it's Puerto Rico. Santos will find a way to get it together enough to make it to the quarterfinals.


I've been loving this tournament, even with the DC United collapse. It's still going to take a few years for it to reach the importance it needs. The Mexican teams aren't playing their first choice players all the time, and it's come back to haunt them on a few occasions. Why should they though? They're doing fine, and the rest of CONCACAF has to catch up.

I think MLS is learning some valuable lessons in this tournament. The schedule crunch is killing DC, along with their injury troubles. The 50+ games DC and Houston are playing this season is just way too many for their tiny salary caps. I won't be shocked to some roster revisions for 2009 in MLS. Whether it's an additional designated player, an increase in the salary cap, or additional roster spots for teams participating in the Champions League (like what Mexico does with teams in Copa Libertadores), I don't know. It could be all of the above.

It's going to take something though...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

MLS clubs need to upgrade their mid-level talent and they need to do what Red Bull did by taking a chance on good USL players such as Mbuta and Kandji. There are a few excellent young players in USL that could help some MLS clubs.

kizzak said...

I roll my eyes when I see complaints about MLS scheduling, Puerto Rico and Montreal have had scheduling issues far, far worse.

Same with the issues about funding and roster depth.